LAW 2517 - Minerals and Energy Laws

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course examines law and policy relating to the ownership and development of onshore and offshore mineral and petroleum resources in Australia. It covers the constitutional powers of the state and Commonwealth governments in relation to mining and petroleum law and regulation; the development of legislation with reference to the exploration and extraction of minerals and petroleum; and the enforcement of mining and petroleum law. The course will emphasise the various policy concerns underlying the legislative regimes, including the concept of the "social licence to operate". Topical community and social issues will be discussed, including the issue of access to private land (such as agricultural land) for mining; mining and indigenous people; environmental controls over mining; rehabilitation of land; mining in protected areas, such as wilderness areas and national parks; and mining in the Woomera Prohibited Area. We will also look at the resolution of international boundary disputes, which affect offshore development, focussing on a case study of the dispute over the Timor Sea.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2517
    Course Minerals and Energy Laws
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1506 or LAW 1511
    Course Description This course examines law and policy relating to the ownership and development of onshore and offshore mineral and petroleum resources in Australia. It covers the constitutional powers of the state and Commonwealth governments in relation to mining and petroleum law and regulation; the development of legislation with reference to the exploration and extraction of minerals and petroleum; and the enforcement of mining and petroleum law. The course will emphasise the various policy concerns underlying the legislative regimes, including the concept of the "social licence to operate". Topical community and social issues will be discussed, including the issue of access to private land (such as agricultural land) for mining; mining and indigenous people; environmental controls over mining; rehabilitation of land; mining in protected areas, such as wilderness areas and national parks; and mining in the Woomera Prohibited Area. We will also look at the resolution of international boundary disputes, which affect offshore development, focussing on a case study of the dispute over the Timor Sea.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alex Wawryk

    Rm 2.06, Ligertwood Building, North Tce

    Please contact me by email.
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1 Articulate the complex issues addressed by mining and energy law.
    2 Analyse the foundational legal principles and mechanisms of mining and energy law.
    3 Critique the law from a practical and policy perspective, either individually or as part of a team.
    4 Conduct, analyse and present legal research, independently and collaboratively.
    5 Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written and oral arguments for a legal audience.
    6 Analyse the impact of mining and energy laws from policy perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1-3, 6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3, 4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed text book for this course. The required reading materials will be accessible to students via MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Internet Sites

    The website of the SA Department of Mining and Energy contains useful information on the mining and energy industries in SA, and on South Australian law and policy:


    There are no recent general textbooks on mineral and energy law specific to the laws in South Australia. Two good books published recently have been placed on Reserve in the Law Library.

    Samantha Hepburn, Mining and Energy Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015). This is a useful book that provides an introduction to a range of issues, and a general introduction and discussion of state/Commonwealth mining and energy laws that address those issues.

    John Southalan, Mining Law and Policy: International Perspectives (The Federation Press, 2012). This book provides an excellent general introduction to the range of issues that are commonly addressed in mining law regimes across the globe.

    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).

    Journal articles

    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.

    Other journals are:
    The International Bar Association's Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law
    The Energy Law Association and University of Tulsa Energy Law Journal
    Oxford's Journal of World Energy Law and Business
    Sweet & Maxwell's International Energy Law Review
    Elsevier's Energy Policy

    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. Sign in to the library and conduct a library search using the phrase "Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence", to obtain the User ID and Password and link to the OGEL site.

    General research

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

    For secondary sources such as books and journal articles:

    For legislation:

    Recommended internet sites for Commonwealth and South Australian legislation, which can also be accessed through the Law Library's website are:
    Federal Register of Legislation -
    South Australian Legislation -
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional materials (including, where relevant, lecture slides and audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain a link to the Course Outline, electronic copies of the Lecture and Seminar Guides, and links to the 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 series of lectures and seminars at which students will be required to discuss, debate and defend their analysis of the relevant material set in the course readings and lectures.

    One 3-hour class will be held each week. The classes will generally be comprised of discussion focussed around a set of reading (and other) materials, and questions issued prior to the class. The weekly seminar guides contain a general introduction to the issues, the relevant law, set out the questions for discussion, and the materials that need to be studied before class. Other learning activities used in this course include role plays, and the use of in-class activities that do not require preparation, such as research conducted in class time, and watching videos. Thirdly, there may be group presentations in classes on selected topics, as part of student assessment. Finally, members of the legal profession may provide guest lectures on highly specialised topics of mining and energy law.

    If possible, an optional day tour/visit will be organised for the mid-semester break, to Terramin's proposed mine site at Bird-in-Hand in the Adelaide Hills. In weeks 4-5 of the course, we will be studying the issues of environmental protection and access to land, and the relevant provisions in the South Australian Mining Act 1971. The optional tour will offer students a unique opportunity to discuss the requirements of the community consultation and land access provisions in the Mining Act with Terramin, and see how they work in practice. Students may  choose to undertake the 30% interim assignment based on this tour.

    More information on the optional tour will be provided on MyUni in 2019.

    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.

    Contact time: attend one 3-hour class each week. This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester.

    Preparation time: In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments. The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary



    Week 1 5 Mar Introduction and course arrangements
    Mining in SA
    Stakeholders and interests in mining
    Week 2 12 Mar Issues of constitutional and international law
    Week 3 19 Mar Ownership and development of mineral resources: Mining Act 1971 (SA)
    Week 4 26 Mar Mining and the environment: environmental impacts of mining, and environment protection under the Mining Act
    Week 5 2 Apr Access to private land
    Critical perspectives on access to private land
    Week 6 9 Apr Nuclear energy and the storage of radioactive waste
    SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission
    Mid-semester Break: Optional Mine Tour (*to be confirmed in 2019*)
    Week 7 30 Apr Mining in protected areas: case study of mining in Arkaroola
    Mining and access to the Woomera Prohibited Area and the Cultana Defence Area
    Week 8 7 May Mining and land access: Native Title
    Aboriginal Heritage
    Week 9 14 May Mining in ‘common areas of humankind’: space mining and deep seabed mining
    Week 10 21 May Petroleum regulation: Petroleum Act 2000 (SA) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth)
    Week 11 28 May Offshore petroleum and maritime boundary disputes
    Case study: dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste regarding maritime boundary delimitation in the Timor Sea, and petroleum arrangements
    Week 12 4 Jun Electricity market regulation

     * This is a draft timetable and is subject to change. Guest lecturers, topics, the final order of topics and the mine site visit will be confirmed in 2019.

  • 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 Task Task Type (Group or Individual)
    Due Weighting Length Redeemable Course Learning Outcome
    MyUni Quiz Individual

    Throughout the semester

    5% 5 quizzes with
    10 questions in each quiz
    No 1-2
    Class Presentation and Written Paper


    Report on the optional mine tour (tour to be confirmed)
    Class Presentation:
    Written paper: Individual

    Report on the optional mine tour: Group

    Class Presentation (15%) - Weeks 4 to 7. Written paper following class presentation (10%) - two weeks after the presentation is given in class.

    Report on the Mine tour: submission date will be three weeks after the tour.
    25% Class presentation 15 mins and written paper 1,000 words

    Group Report on Mine Tour: 2,000 words
    No 1-5
    Research Essay Individual Friday 14 June 2pm 70% 5,000 words No 1, 3-6
    Assessment Detail
    1. Quiz: 5%

    Students will be expected to complete 5 online quizzes, released over Weeks 3-12. Each quiz will involve 10 multiple-choice questions on material and issues previously covered in classes. Each quiz may be attempted as many times as is necessary to complete it. Each quiz successfully completed will be worth 1% of the total mark for the course. Each quiz must be completed before the start of the week following its release.

    2. Interim Assessment: 25%

    Students may choose one of two alternative assessment schemes, set out in 2(a) and 2(b) below.

    (a) Group Class Presentation and Individual Written Paper: 25% (group class presentation 15%, individual written paper 10%)

    This assessment is undertaken in a group of 4-5 members. Each group will give a 15-minute class presentation pertaining to one seminar topic. The topics will be identified and groups allocated through MyUni by the end of Week 2. Class presentations will take place from Week 4 to Week 7, depending on the number of presentations. The class presentation must include the submission of a written aid, such as a powerpoint presentation or written outline. Each member of the group will receive the group mark.

    Following the class presentation, each individual will submit a written paper on the seminar topic in relation to which their group presented. Each individual will receive an individual grade for their paper. 

    Word limit for written paper: 1,000 words.

    Due date of written paper: Tuesday at 10am, two weeks after the group presentation is given in class. 

    Criteria for assessment for the class presentation and individual assessment will be made available on MyUni at the start of Week 1.


    (b) Group Report on Optional Mine Site Visit: 25%

    This is an alternative assessment to the Group presentation and assignment. Students who attend the Mine Tour may submit a Report on the tour as part of their assessment. The Mine Tour Group Report may be undertaken as part of a group of 2-4 members. The Report will be based around a set of questions provided to students. This Report is primarily a reflective exercise. Students will be expected to explain the relevant provisions of the law and reflect on the practical impact of the law, based on the mine site visit.  

    Word limit: 2,000 words.

    Due date: 3 weeks after the mine tour. A set date will be given if and when arrangements for the tour are finalised.

    Criteria for assessment for the class presentation and individual assessment will be made available on MyUni at the start of Week 1.

    Assessment Item 2: Failure to Contribute Appropriately to your Group. The class presentation and mine site report are items of group assessment. This means one group mark will begiven to all group members. If a student fails to contribute appropriately to their group, they will suffer a marks penalty that adjusts their mark for this item of assessment to a level commensurate with their contribution, and this lower mark will count in full towards their final grade. Information about how to work in groups, and the processes to be followed in the event of a failure to contribute appropriately, will be made available on MyUni.

    3. Research Essay: 70%

    Word limit: 5,000 words.

    Due date: Friday 14 June at 2pm.

    Students may choose their topic from a list of topics that will be made available on MyUni, or choose their own topic. Students that wish to choose their own topic must contact the course co-ordinator to discuss the selection of the topic by Friday 5 April (end of week 5) to ensure the topis is relevant, suitable and achievable within the word limit.

    Criteria for assessment for the research essay will be made available on MyUni at the start of Week 1.
    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/essay 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 electronically according to Law School policy 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.


    Late Submission: When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 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 and public holidays. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.

    Word Length: 5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated time limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5% deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long, for a final grade of 58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be deducted for a final mark of 53%, etc.  Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, in quotations, but exclude citations in footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.

    Turnaround time: Feedback on the class presentations and written group papers will be returned to students within 2 weeks of submission of the written paper, unless otherwise notified by announcement on MyUni. Feedback on the Mine Tour report will be returned to students no later than Friday 17 May in Week 9.
    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.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    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
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at

    Lex Salus Program

    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health
    issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program. Students can
    participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our FaceBook page at, our website at and regular allstudent emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness. Our Lex Salus Youtube channel at also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality.
    Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can
    have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank
    you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Counselling Service

    The University Counselling Service provides a free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Counselling service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life. More information is available at
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at: 

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School 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.