The State Government has introduced legislation that aims to boost small-scale mining operations in Queensland.
Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps says opal and other gemstone exploration is the lifeblood of some regional communities.
Mr Cripps has told State Parliament the bill will simplify applications and remove administrative processes and fees for some small operators.
"These small-scale miners have faced increasing pressure from a steady increase in fees compliance costs and red tape over many years, which has driven down participation in the industry "The reforms I am introducing today address these issues and will reduce ongoing administrative processes and fees for the industry." Central Queensland gem miners have welcomed the State Government cuts to red tape for small mining operators.
More than 85 per cent of mining claims in the state are in the Gemfields in central Queensland.
The Queensland Sapphires Producers Association (QSPA) says red tape has been draining small mining businesses.
QSPA president Cliff Mortle says it will also benefit tourist operations in the Gemfields.
"We anticipate quite a boost to the small-scale mining platform," he said.
"It's got to be beneficial obviously to the Gemfields area but I mean mainly the Gemfields are a unique location being the largest sapphire fields in the Southern Hemisphere.
"I think at this stage it will entice tourists, which means the tourist industry grows." Mr Mortle says it will give small miners a chance to take back some of the profits.
"We were being tied in with the large-scale mining - coal - and it was identified then that we were being over-regulated," he said.
"We still need to be regulated but there was a lot of red tape and there was a lot of documentation obviously and costs of course associated with that, which was basically detrimental to small-scale mining."