RE-INTRODUCTION OF RESOURCES LEGISLATION(BALANCE, CERTAINTY AND
EFFICIENCY) AMENDMENT BILL 2011 (QLD)
The Queensland government is intending to re-introduce a
slightly amended Resources Legislation (Balance, Certainty and
Efficiency) Amendment Bill 2011 (Qld). The Bill, which was
introduced by the previous government and lapsed on 19 February
2012, aims to balance the resources boom with other industries and
land users in Queensland. This is primarily to be achieved by
involving local governments in decisions about mining and petroleum
activities in identified Urban Restricted Areas around certain
cities and towns.
The Bill will amend a number of Acts, including the Mineral
Resources Act 1989 (Qld), the Land and Resources Tribunal
Act 1999 (Qld), the Petroleum Act 1923 (Qld) and the
Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld).
Relevantly, amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld)
include the prohibition on transferring a divided part of a mining
tenement, to ensure that all mining tenements retain their
cohesion, and a requirement to register dealings with mining
tenements (also providing that a dealing will have no effect until
it has been registered). In addition, the Bill will impose a
restriction on carrying out authorised activities in Urban
Restricted Areas without the Minister's approval.
AUSTRALIA-CHINA LOW-EMISSIONS COAL PARTNERSHIP FUND
On 9 July 2012, the AUD$1.1 million Australia-China Clean Coal
Technology Partnership Fund was launched. The fund will be used by
research and industry organisations to strengthen collaboration
between Australia and China through exchanges, secondments,
workshops and symposiums in the development of low-emissions coal
technology. The aim of this initiative is to develop and implement
low emissions coal technologies in power stations.
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CENTRAL QUEENSLAND AND DARLING DOWNS
On 9 July 2012, the Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney,
announced that the Australian Federal Government has provided
AUD$3.5 million to fund development in Central and North
Queensland. This funding will go towards the North Queensland
Resource Supply Chain to develop "comprehensive models to help
prioritise projects and investment in North Queensland" as
well as to the Central Queensland Resource Supply Chain to
"manage regional growth in Central Queensland including the
Galilee and Bowen Basins".
FIRST CASE UNDER AMENDED QUEENSLAND LAND ACCESS LAW
Recently, the Queensland Land Court heard the first application
in relation to compensation under Schedule 1 of the Mineral
Resources Act 1989 (Qld) (MRA), which
commenced on 10 December 2010.
The registered lessee of land that was the subject of an
exploration permit for coal (EPC) sought $50,000
in compensation from the EPC holder, Peabody West Burton
Pty Ltd (Peabody), for loss of land value
from a potential future mining lease. Peabody applied for a court
decision on the compensation liability pursuant to section 22 of
Schedule 1 of the MRA. At the heart of the dispute was whether the
respondent could claim for "diminution of value" under
section 13 of Schedule 1 of the MRA.
The Land Court held that the mere fact that there is an EPC over
the land and the risk of a future mining lease does not qualify the
lessees for compensation. As such, while $3220 was awarded for
actual use of land and drilling activities, there was no
compensation awarded for diminution of value.
INDONESIA BANS EXPORTS OF RAW ORE
In June 2012, the Indonesian government introduced a ban on raw
ore exports, requiring miners to process the ore in Indonesia
before exporting. The ban will be introduced gradually, but will
apply to all ore exports by 2014. Currently, the Indonesian
government is allowing companies to continue exporting raw ore if
they hold an approved business plan and have signed a commitment to
the Indonesian government to stop exporting raw ore by 2014.
Indonesia is currently the world's top exporter of coal used
for power stations, nickel and tin. However, reports state that the
raw ore export ban has created "industry chaos", with
June exports of nickel ore dropping by 80% and copper ore export
dropping by 90%. It has been reported that many mining companies
have halted operations and hundreds of thousands of workers have
lost their jobs.
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It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
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