LAW 7009 - Mining and Energy Law

North Terrace Campus - Winter - 2015

The course examines the law and practice relating to the ownership and development of on-shore and off-shore mineral and petroleum resources in Australia. It covers the development of legislation with reference to exploration, extraction and the enforcement of mining and petroleum interests. Community and social issues will be discussed, including the relationship between mining and indigenous people, environmental controls over mining production, mining in protected areas, and mining in the Woomera Prohibited Area. We will look at international boundary disputes, including the dispute over the Timor Sea. The course will also deal with international and national regulation to address climate change, including legislation to encourage renewable energy resources and to establish an emissions trading scheme in Australia. The regulation of the electricity industry will also be covered.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7009
    Course Mining and Energy Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Winter
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Non-law graduates only: LAW 7177
    Assessment To Be Advised
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alex Wawryk

    Rm 2.06, Ligertwood Building, North Tce
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Students in this course are expected to attend all classes throughout the course. Classes in this course will be held as follows:

    9.00am – 4.00pm, Room 103, Ligertwood Building, with a lunch break, on:

    Tuesday 14 July, Thursday 16 July, Tuesday 21 July and Thursday 23 July.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    To develop an understanding of the principles and concepts of law underpinning mining and energy law in Australia, including the following:

    1.   the development of mining and petroleum legislation in Australia, including issues of constitutional law and international law;
    2.   the regulation of onshore and offshore mineral and petroleum exploration and production;
    3.   judicial arrangements and appeals, in particular the jurisdiction of the Warden’s Court;
    4.   the relationship between mining and indigenous peoples, including Native Title law;
    5.   environmental controls over mining and energy production, including mining in protected areas such as national parks and
    6.   the relevance and resolution of international boundary disputes, in particular the Timor Sea Treaty and legislation governing oil exploration and production in the Timor Sea;
    7.   international arrangements for addressing climate change created under the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention; and
    8.   national legislation to address climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emission from energy industries and encouraging
    renewable energy resources; and
    9.   the regulation of the Australian electricity industry.

    Intellectual and Social Capabilities

     To develop:

    10. the cognitive skills to analyse evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources and experiences arising between participants and stakeholders in the mining and energy industries so as to identify and address as appropriate legal and related issues;
    11. an awareness and appreciation of the continuous state of development of legal principles applicable to mining and energy exploration and production, and a capacity to respond to such change and assist such development as appropriate;
    12. an awareness and appreciation of the political and socio-economic context of Mining and Energy Law;
    13. critical thinking skills;
    14. oral and written communication skills of a high order;
    15. the capacity and commitment to learn and maintain intellectual curiosity, and to engage in life long personal and professional learning; and
    16. familiarity and proficiency in legal research techniques, including in the appropriate use of modern research technologies.

    Attitudes and Values

    To develop:

    17.   the capacity to be informed, responsible and critically discriminating in relation to the development and application of Mining and Energy Law;
    18.   a commitment to the rule of law and social justice through the operation of Mining and Energy law, especially as between stakeholders affected by minerals and energy exploration and production; and
    19.   an understanding of social and cultural diversity, and sensitivity of the operation of the law and legal structures in development and application of Minerals and Energy Law.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The required legislation and materials will be available accessible to students via MyUni. There may be some very few materials that need to be collected from the Law School Front Office.

    Students will be expected to have downloaded/collected a copy of the prescribed readings prior to the commencement of classes on July 14. The materials should be available approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the commencement of classes.

    Recommended Resources

    There are no recent general textbooks on mineral and energy law specific to the laws in South Australia, although John Southalan’s recent book provides an excellent general introduction to the range of issues that are commonly addressed in mining law regimes, and has been placed on Reserve in the Law Library.

    • John Southalan, Mining Law and Policy: International Perspectives (The Federation Press, 2012).

    Two other older texts have also been placed on Reserve in the Law Library. These are:

    • John Forbes and Andrew Lang, Australian Mining and Petroleum Laws (2nd ed, 1987); and
    • Anne Fitzgerald, Mining Agreements: Negotiated Frameworks in the Australian Minerals Sector (2002).

    Two key sources for relevant journal articles are the Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal (formerly the Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Journal), published by the Australian Energy and Resources Law Association (AMPLA), and the AMPLA Yearbook.

    The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) at the University of Dundee, Scotland, publishes freely available articles, book reviews and developments on its website:

    The Law Library subscribes to an on-line publication called OGEL, the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence service, available at You can access high quality articles on oil, gas and energy law from this site. You can also access the site through the Law Library website at Consult the Law Librarian for User ID and Password

    The Law Library’s website contains links for conducting legal research, both primary sources (legislation and case law) and secondary sources (articles and books), at

    For journal articles, the Law Library’s link is:

    For legislation, the Law Library’s link is:

    Recommended internet sites for legislation, which can also be accessed through the Law Library’s website are:

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides, and where available, audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught in a combination of lectures and seminars. The seminars will comprise discussion focussed around a set of reading materials and questions issued prior to the class. These may be designed to develop certain themes or topics covered in the lectures, or to provide critical discussion of stand-alone topics. The seminar guides contain a general introduction to the law and to the general problems addressed by the law.

    Members of the legal profession will provide guest lectures on highly specialised topics of mining and energy law.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (ie those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies, or 12 hours per week over 12 weeks (144 hours total) for a 3-unit course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Day Date Topic Presenter
    1 14 July Introduction and course arrangements Alex Wawryk
    Topic 1: Issues of constitutional and international law (seminar) Alex Wawryk
    Topic 2: Development of mineral resources and regulation of onshore mining: Mining Act 1971 (SA) (lecture) Alex Wawryk
    2 16 July Topic 3: Mining and the environment – overview of law (lecture) Alex Wawryk
    Topic 4: Access to land: Mining in protected areas (national parks and reserves) and the Woomera Prohibited Area (seminar) Alex Wawryk
    Topic 5: Mining and Native Title law (lecture) Guest lecture
    3 21 July Topic 6: Development of petroleum - Petroleum Act 2000 (SA) and Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth) (lecture) Alex Wawryk
    Topic 7: Boundary disputes and the Timor Sea (seminar) Alex Wawryk
    4 23 July Topic 8: Electricity arrangements (lecture) Guest lecture
    Topic 9: Climate Change: the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol (seminar) Alex Wawryk
    Topic 10: Renewable energy law (lecture) Alex Wawryk

    ** This is a draft timetable and is subject to change. The guest lectures and final order of topics will be confirmed in 2015**

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment item Type % of final mark Due date  Learning objectives
    Class participation in seminars summative, formative 10% - 1, 5, 6, 8, 10-15, 17-19
    Assignment: written answers to a seminar problem summative, formative 20% 9.00am on the morning of the day that the relevant topic is to be taught. 5, 6, 8, 10-19
    Major essay summative 70% Friday 5 September, 2pm 1-22
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The written assignment and the major essay are compulsory. Failure to complete these items of assessment will result in course failure.

    Students must achieve at least 50% in class participation to pass the course. Seminar questions are designed to improve students’ treaty interpretation skills, legal problem-solving skills, and their ability to engage in critical analysis of international energy law. Participation marks provide a basis for assessing students’ ability to intelligently discuss and debate the law and its application to basic problems Failure to achieve 50% will result in course failure.

    Students who miss a seminar for medical or compassionate reasons may contact the Course Co-ordinator to arrange alternative, supplementary, written assessment in lieu of the participation mark for that seminar.
    Assessment Detail
    Class Participation: 10%

    Each student will receive a grade at the conclusion of classes for their participation in class-room discussion during the course. This will be based on both their willingness to contribute comments and/or respond to questions and the quality of any contributions made.

    Written answers to seminar problem: 20%

    Each student is required to prepare and submit written answers to one relevant seminar question pertaining to one of the seminar topics  - i.e. topic 4, 7 or 9 - which will identified through MyUni no later than 4 weeks prior to the start of the Course.

    Word limit: 1,500 words.

    Due date of written answers: 9.00am on the morning of the day that the relevant topic is to be taught.

    Answers must be submitted online through MyUni.

    Essay: 70%

    A paper of 5,000 words (excluding references) will be required on a topic to be selected from a list of topics provided by the lecturer. Students may propose their own topic for approval by the lecturer prior to the conclusion of the course.  

    Due date of Essay: Friday 5 September 2015, 2pm

    Students choosing to use this course to satisfy the requirements of the substantial research piece of scholarship for their program must undertake the required disciplinary research and produce a 7,000-8,000 word essay which will be assessed against publication standards. This essay will replace the above mentioned research essay.

    Assessment Guide

    When undertaking an assessment task, students are to be assessed according to whether they are law or non-law graduates respectively. Where the nature of the task involves the exercise of skills that law graduates can be expected to have practised or refined over a longer period or to a greater degree than their non-law counterparts, an assessor may legitimately expect a higher standard of performance from the law graduates in the course.

    Criteria for Seminar Participation:
    Each seminar your leader will note if you are present and will assess your level of participation in the seminar exercises and discussion. Classes delivered by lecture are not included for the purpose of participation. Attendance alone is not equivalent to participation. For each seminar topic you will be assigned one of the following grades, based on evidence of preparation for the class, willingness to engage in discussion, and the quality of your contribution to the discussions: Excellent (7.5-10), Good (5-7), Poor (1-4) or Zero (0).

    Seminar questions are designed to improve students’ statutory interpretation skills, legal problem-solving skills, and their ability to engage in critical analysis of mining and energy law. Participation marks provide a basis for assessing students’ ability to intelligently discuss and debate the law and its application to basic problems. Participation marks assess students’ oral communication skills. A guide to the award of participation marks is as follows:

    • Zero (0) – no evidence of preparation or contribution to small group or larger class discussion.
    • Poor (1-4) – evidence of some preparation but no or very little contribution to small group or larger class discussion; poor quality of contribution displaying little understanding of the issues and demonstrating poor oral communication and legal skills.
    • Good (5-7) – evidence of good preparation, active contribution to small group discussion; contribution of a quality that displays a reasonable to good understanding of the law, and good oral communication and legal skills.
    • Excellent (7.5-10) – evidence of thorough preparation, active contribution to small group discussion and participation in the larger class; high level understanding of the law and critical analysis, evidence of excellent oral and legal skills.

    Criteria for Written Answer to Seminar Problem:
    Each question is designed to promote critical thinking about an aspect of Mining and Energy Law.

    • Structure – whether the paper is structured logically and flows well; the overall coherence of the paper.
    • Content – level of critical analysis; ability to convey legal arguments effectively and persuasively; the ability to distinguish between stronger and weaker positions and arguments.
    • Written communication skills – the expression and standard of writing, including the ability of the student to write clearly and concisely.
    • Quality of resources used – appropriate use of primary and secondary legal resources; quality of legal resources used.
    • Presentation – correct grammar, spelling and punctuation and the correct citation of references.

    Criteria for Written Assessments and Guide to Grading:

    Zero Marks - 0-30 - Irrelevant response to the topic; little or no understanding of the relevant law; no critical analysis; extremely poor structure; no or very little evidence of independent legal research; extremely poor presentation and citation; extremely poor expression and writing skills, showing little or no ability to convey legal arguments effectively and persuasively.

    Low Marks - 30 - 49 - Low level of understanding of relevant legal concepts and arguments; retelling of source materials with minimal transformation; failure to synthesise information into a convincing position or argument; little or no critical analysis; no appreciation of the law in its political, socio-economic and/or scientific context; poor structure; inadequate number and quality of references; very poor expression and standard of writing, showing little ability to convey legal arguments effectively and persuasively; poor presentation and citation.

    Pass - 50-64 – adequate understanding of the law; evidence of understanding, coverage and effort but typically characterised by assimilation of knowledge rather than critical analysis; little evidence of appreciation of the law in its political, socio-economic and/or scientific context; adequate use of outside resources but not of a particularly wide range or very high quality, and may include a failure to identify and discuss key legal references; logical but not compelling arguments and positions; some ability to convey legal arguments but poor expression and writing compromises the extent to which the essay is persuasive and compelling; adequate presentation but displaying some errors of grammar, spelling or expression.

    Credit - 65-74 – A good understanding of the law; a reasonable level of critical analysis; a structure that is generally logical and easy to follow; some evidence of appreciation of the law in its political, socio-economic and/or scientific context; a good use of outside references; good expression and writing evidencing an ability to convey legal arguments effectively and persuasively, good presentation generally but with some minor deficiencies of grammar, spelling or expression.

    Distinction - 75-84 – A very good understanding of the law; very good level of critical analysis; a very good appreciation of the law in its political, socio-economic and/or scientific context; clear depiction of all aspects of the problem and their interactions; logical structure; ability to distinguish stronger and weaker positions and arguments; very good use of legal references of a good quality and range; an appreciation of the complexities and ambiguities that might arise with respect to application of the law; ability to effectively argue for law reform; very good expression and standard of writing; very good presentation with few errors.

    High Distinction - 85 - Demonstrated high level of understanding of the law; outstanding level of critical analysis; demonstrated high level appreciation of the law in its political, socio-economic and/or scientific context; informed, responsible and critically discriminating discussion of Mining and Energy Law and its impact on communities; logically structured and compelling argument demonstrating the ability to distinguish between stronger and weaker positions and arguments and to construct effective responses; wide ranging use of high quality legal resources; high level analysis of the complexities and ambiguities arising in the application of the law; ability to construct and effectively argue for law reform; excellent expression and standard of writing; excellent presentation.
    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted electronically through through MyUni. Details for electronic submission through MyUni will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    By submitting your assignment electronically you are agreeing to the following:

    I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others. I have read the Policy on Cheating in Examinations and Related Forms of Assessment. I have also read the University's Plagiarism Policy.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the course co-ordinator.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made via email to the course coordinator. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is one hour late, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 25 hours late, etc.
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 5,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 5001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 5101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all headings and substantive footnoted within the text but excluding cover page information and footnotes that are references. Quotations are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time: The written assignment will be returned to students within 2 weeks of the end of the course. The major essay will be returned electronically to students within 4 weeks of the due date with written feedback, unless otherwise notified by announcement on MyUni. Students will be notified by email when assessment is ready for collection from the Law School Front Office.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Bachelor of Laws 2012 Commencing Student Guide or Re-Enrolment Guide, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.