Significant changes to resources legislation in Queensland will
take effect from Tuesday 27 September 2016. We have set out below
some examples of how the MERCP Act can impact resource exploration
and production, and what you need to do.
Registration of land access agreements
Conduct and compensation agreements (CCAs) and
a new form of agreement known as an "Opt-Out Agreement"
must be recorded on the land register.
For any CCA entered into before
tomorrow, the tenement holder has six months to give
notice to the registrar under the Land Title Act 1994 or
the Land Act 1994 (as applicable).
For any CCA or Opt-Out Agreement that is entered into
tomorrow or later, the tenement holder
must lodge a notice with (and pay a fee to) the registrar within 28
days of entering into the agreement. The tenement holder is also
responsible for notifying the relevant registrar once the agreement
The definition of restricted land has been amended, e.g.
restricted land now includes land within 200m of a residence. We
recommend that all exploration tenure holders review the restricted
land within their tenure.
Overlapping coal and CSG tenure
The MERCP Act introduces a new overlapping tenure regime for
coal and CSG. Importantly, if you have applied for a coal mining
lease over the area of a CSG tenure then you are required to give
an "advance notice" to the CSG tenure holder within 10
business days of commencement of the MERCP Act – that is, by
11 October 2016. This requirement does not apply where the CSG
tenure is a PL granted before the commencement or where a
coordination arrangement has been approved for the overlapping
The MERCP Act sets up a regime of mandatory and non-mandatory
overlapping coal and CSG provisions. Coal and CSG parties cannot
contract out of the mandatory provisions.
This has significant consequences for parties who are subject to
the new overlapping tenure regime, but have entered into
Co-Development Agreements. The MERCP Act does not preserve
Co-Development Agreements. Where a provision of such an agreement
is inconsistent with non-mandatory provisions, the parties are
taken to have agreed that the non-mandatory provisions do not
apply. However, the parties must still comply with the mandatory
provisions. This may create significant conflict between what the
parties have agreed in their Co-Development Agreement and what they
are required to do under the MERCP Act.
We recommend that all coal and CSG tenement holders carefully
review their Co-Development Agreements and consider whether any
amendment to the Co-Development Agreement is necessary to align it
with the MERCP Act mandatory provisions. Termination of the
Co-Development Agreement may also be an alternative for parties who
have conflicting requirements under their Co-Development Agreement
and the MERCP Act mandatory provisions, and who agree that the new
overlap provisions should apply.
Joint interaction management plan
Coal and CSG parties are now required to enter into a joint
interaction management plan that identifies hazards and assesses
risks in overlapping areas. There are transitional provisions that
provide a six month extension to the requirement to agree a JIMP in
most circumstances. On and from 27 March 2017 (i.e. six months from
commencement) a JIMP must be in place prior to activities
commencing on an EPC or coal mining lease. There are similar
provisions for activities under CSG tenure.
The MERCP Act introduces a raft of changes that could have
significant impacts on a resource project - whether a mineral, coal
or petroleum project.
Most issues apply to all sectors, but this paper will only focus on the use of EPC contracts in the wind power sector.
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