LAW 2517 - Minerals and Energy Laws

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

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.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2517
    Course Minerals and Energy Laws
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    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
    Incompatible LAW 2096
    Course Description 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.
    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.

    Classes in this course will be held as follows: Thursday 10am-1pm in the Ingkarni Wardli building (room number to be confirmed).

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Analyse the foundational principles of mining and energy law, undertake self-directed legal research with primary and secondary materials, and evaluate legal information.
    2 Apply mining and energy law to complex issues, and critique the law from a practical and policy perspective, either individually or as part of a team.
    3 Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written and oral arguments for a legal audience.
    4 Conduct, analyse and present legal research, independently and collaboratively.
    5 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, 2, 5
    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
    2, 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
    1, 3, 4
    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

    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. You can also access the site through the Law Library website at Consult the Law Librarian for User ID and Password.

    General research

    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:

    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 one 3-hour class 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. There will also be a range of in-class activities that do not require preparation, such as research, and watching videos. Thirdly, there will 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/mine site visit will be organised for the mid-semester break, to the Brukunga mine site in the Adelaide Hills, and to Terramin's Angas zinc mine. In week 3 of the course, we will be studying mining and environmental protection. In this topic, we look at how the law protects the environment from the negative impacts of mining, including the requirement under the South Australian Mining Act for mining companies to put in place Programs for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPRs).  The optional mine visit will offer students a unique opportunity to compare, in practice, the environment protection and rehabilitation of mines before and after modern environmental protection law.

    More information on the optional tour will be provided on MyUni in 2017. 

    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
    1 27 Jul Introduction and course arrangements
    Issues of constitutional and international law
    2 3 Aug Different stakeholders and interests in mining
    Ownership and development of mineral resources: Mining Act 1971 (SA)
    3 10 Aug Mining and the environment: environmental impacts of mining; environment protection under the Mining Act; and guest lecture on legacy sites/Brukunga mine site
    4 17 Aug Overview of mining and environmental legislation
    Mining in protected areas: case study of mining in Arkaroola
    5 24 Aug Mining and access to land: private land and Native Title land 
    6 31 Aug Critical perspectives on access to private land 
    Access to the Woomera Prohibited Area
    7 7 Sep Development of petroleum resources: Petroleum Act 2000 (SA) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth)
    8 14 Sep Nuclear energy and the storage of radioactive waste
    SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission
    Mid-semester Break: Optional Mine Tour (*to be confirmed in 2017*)
    9 5 Oct Offshore petroleum - health and safety regulation in the context of the Montara and Deepwater Horizon incidents
    10 12 Oct 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
    11 19 Oct Electricity market regulation
    The Renewable Energy Target (RET)
    12 26 Oct Climate change: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement; Direct Action; emissions trading

    ** This is a draft timetable and is subject to change. Guest lecturers, final order of topics and the mine site visit will be confirmed in 2017**
    Specific Course Requirements

  • 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 % of final mark Dates Length Redeemable   Learning outcomes
    Group Class Presentation and Written Paper 


    Group Report on the optional mine tour (tour to be confirmed)
    30 Class Presentation (15%) - weekly during the semester, beginning in Week 3. Written paper following class presentation (15%) - two weeks after the presentation is given in class.

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

    Group Report on Mine Tour: 2,000 words

    No 1-5
    Final Exam 70 In the final exam period 3 hours No 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Assessment Detail
    A.  Group work

    Group Class Presentation and Written Paper: 30% (class presentation 15%, written paper 15%)

    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 in the first week of the Course. Class presentations will take place from Week 3. The class presentation must include the submission of a written aid, such as a powerpoint presentation or written outline. Following the class presentation, each group will submit a written paper on the seminar topic.

    Word limit for written paper: 1,000 words.

    Due date of written paper: Thursday at 11am, two weeks after the group presentation is given in class.

    Answers must be submitted online through MyUni.


    Group Report on Optional Mine Tour: 30%

    This is an alternative assessment to the Group presentation and assignment.  Students who attend the Mine Tour may choose to 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 3-5 members. The Report will be based around a questions provided to students.

    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.

    Answers must be submitted online through MyUni.

    B. Final Exam: 70%

    The final exam will be 2.5 hours.

    Assessment Guide

    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/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 to the Course Co-ordinator. 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: 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.

    Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated word length will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all headings, and footnotes that contain substantive text, but excluding cover page information, and footnotes that are references only. Quotations are included in the word count.

    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 also be returned to students within 2 weeks of submission of the written paper, unless otherwise notified by announcement on MyUni.
    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.

    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 Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • 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 was founded in 2013 by Adelaide Law School Wellbeing officers Ms Corinne Walding, Ms Kellie Toole and Dr Mark Giancaspro. Lex Salus is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at raising law student awareness of the importance of mental, physical and nutritional health across all year levels of the degree, and of the various counselling, disability and equity services both within and outside the University that can provide help. Research shows that law students, both in Australia and in many jurisdictions around the world, experience the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression out of any other discipline. Many do not get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet or achieve a realistic work/life balance. Making matters worse, they are unwilling or afraid to speak up for fear of feeling 'weak' or because of the negative stigma that attaches to seeking help. Lex Salus is dedicated to tackling these problems head-on.

    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.