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Offshore Minerals Act 1994

Authoritative Version
  • - C2004A04704
  • In force - Superseded Version
  • View Series
Act No. 28 of 1994 as made
An Act relating to exploration for, and the recovery of, minerals (other than petroleum) in certain offshore areas, and for related purposes
Administered by: Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Date of Assent 25 Feb 1994

Offshore Minerals Act 1994

No. 28 of 1994

READER’S GUIDE
 

 


Purpose of the Reader’s Guide

The purpose of this Guide is to make it easier for you to read the Act. It gives you information about the scope, coverage and organisation of the Act and it alerts you to some of the basic concepts used in the Act. It also tells you about some of the features of the Act so that you can read the Act more efficiently.

Scope of the Act

The Act deals with 2 related matters:

*  setting up a licensing system for mining and exploration in particular offshore areas; and

*  applying State laws to those offshore areas so far as those laws concern mining and exploration activities.

The provisions dealing with the first matter take up most of the Act. The second matter is dealt with in Part 5.1.


READER’S GUIDE—continued

Basic concepts

The Act uses a number of basic concepts and some of these concepts are sophisticated and difficult. If you are reading the Act for the first time, you should go to Division 2 of Part 1.2 first and familiarise yourself with these basic concepts before going on to read the other provisions of the Act.

The main basic concepts are:

*  a Commonwealth-State offshore area (an “adjacent area” if you are already familiar with the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967);

blocks and the different kinds of blocks (standard, reserved and tender blocks);

*  minerals;

*  exploration;

*  mining.

The bodies with decision-making powers

The administration of the Act is generally shared between the Commonwealth Government and the State Governments. This means that the various decision-making powers under the Act are given to different bodies. Part 1.3 explains who these bodies are. The State body is called the Designated Authority. The body that represents the Commonwealth and State Governments acting together is called the Joint Authority.

It is important to familiarise yourself with this terminology and to keep the distinction between the different authorities in mind when you read the provisions of the Act.

An important feature of the licensing system is that the Joint Authority always acts through the corresponding Designated Authority. The Joint Authority’s decisions are carried out by the Designated Authority. Applicants and licence holders always deal with the Designated Authority and do not deal directly with the Joint Authority, although the Joint Authority is the ultimate decision-maker.

The Act also deals with exploration and mining in the offshore areas off external territories. Although special provision is sometimes made for the external territories, the general approach is to give the Commonwealth Minister the powers of both Designated Authority and Joint Authority (see subsections 29(3) and 32(3)).

The licensing scheme

Different activities require different authorisations. The Act provides for 5 kinds of authorisation:


READER’S GUIDE—continued

exploration licences;

*  retention licences;

*  mining licences;

*  works licences;

*  special purpose consents.

The Act deals with these authorisations in this order. The provisions dealing with each authorisation begin with a statement of the activities authorised by that particular authorisation and go on to deal with:

*  applications;

*  grant;

*  duration;

*  renewal;

*  obligations of the holder;

*  expiry.

You can use the table of provisions to “home in” on the authorisation and the topic you are interested in. Where necessary, the Act will cross refer you to related provisions that you might otherwise overlook or not find easy to locate. These cross references will be found in the Notes at the end of sections and subsections.

Registration and dealings

Chapter 3 deals with the related topics of registration and dealings in licences.

Administration

Chapter 4 deals with the administration of the licensing system including:

*  information gathering powers;

*  compliance inspections;

*  the giving of directions;

*  the lodgment and use of securities;

*  restoration and rehabilitation action.


SUMMARY OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1—Introduction

Part 1.1—Legislative formalities and background

Part 1.2—Interpretation

Division 1—General

Division 2—Basic concepts

Part 1.3— Designated Authorities and Joint Authorities

Part 1.4—Application of this Act

Chapter 2—Regulation of offshore exploration and mining

Part 2.1—General

Part 2.2—Exploration licences

Division 1—General

Division 2—Application for and grant of exploration licence over standard blocks

Division 3—Application for and grant of exploration licence over tender blocks

Division 4—Duration of exploration licence

Division 5—Voluntary surrender of part of exploration licence area

Division 6—Application for and grant of renewal of exploration licence

Division 7—Obligations associated with exploration licence

Division 8—Expiry of exploration licence

Part 2.3—Retention licences

Division 1—General

Division 2—Application for and grant of retention licence

Division 3—Duration of retention licence

Division 4—Voluntary surrender of part of retention licence area

Division 5—Application for and grant of renewal of retention licence

Division 6—Obligations associated with retention licence

Division 7—Expiry of retention licence

Part 2.4—Mining licences

Division 1—General

Division 2—Application for and grant of mining licence over standard blocks

Division 3—Application for and grant of mining licence over tender blocks

Division 4—Duration of mining licence

Division 5—Voluntary surrender of part of mining licence area

Division 6—Application for and grant of renewal of mining licence

Division 7—Obligations associated with mining licence

Division 8—Expiry of mining licence

Part 2.5—Works licences

Division 1—General

Division 2—Application for and grant of works licence

Division 3—Duration of works licence

Division 4—Application for and grant of renewal of works licence

Division 5—Obligations associated with works licence

Division 6—Expiry of works licence

Part 2.6—Special purpose consents


SUMMARY OF CONTENTS—continued

Chapter 3—Registration and dealings

Part 3.1—Registration

Division 1—Preliminary

Division 2—Matters to be entered in register

Subdivision A—Licences

Subdivision B—Caveats

Division 3—Miscellaneous

Part 3.2—Dealings in registered licences

Division 1—Dealings in licences to be in writing and registered

Division 2—Approval of transfer of licences

Chapter 4—Administration

Part 4.1—Information management

Part 4.2—Monitoring and enforcement

Division 1—Inspections

Division 2—Directions

Division 3—Securities

Division 4—Restoration of environment

Division 5—Safety zones

Division 6—Offences

Part 4.3—Review of decisions made about the offshore areas of external territories

Part 4.4—Procedures of Joint Authorities and Designated Authorities

Part 4.5—Inspectors

Part 4.6—Finance

Chapter 5—Miscellaneous

Part 5.1—Application of laws

Part 5.2—Miscellaneous

SCHEDULES

Schedule 1—Savings and transitional provisions

Schedule 2—Map of the Commonwealth-State offshore areas


Offshore Minerals Act 1994

No. 28 of 1994

TABLE OF PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 1—INTRODUCTION

PART 1.1—LEGISLATIVE FORMALITIES AND BACKGROUND

Section

1.      Short title

2.      Commencement

3.      Commonwealth-State agreement (the Offshore Constitutional Settlement)

PART 1.2—INTERPRETATION

Division 1General

4.      Interpretation

5.      Treatment of the Northern Territory

6.      Shares in a licence

7.      Transfer of a licence

8.      Successor licences

9.      Notes, Diagrams etc. form part of section etc.

10.     Position on the Earth’s surface

11.     Effect of maximum penalty at foot of section or subsection

12.     Power to vary and revoke instruments

Division 2—Basic concepts

13.     Commonwealth-State offshore areas

14.     External territory offshore areas

15.     Effect of change in baseline

16.     Coastal waters of a State


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

17.      Blocks

18.      Reserved block

19.      Standard block

20.      Tender block

21.      Discrete area

22.      Mineral

23.      Exploration

24.      Recovery

25.      Licence holder

26.      Associates

27.      Confidential information

28.      Confidential sample

PART 1.3—DESIGNATED AUTHORITIES AND JOINT AUTHORITIES

29.      Designated Authorities

30.      Functions and powers of Designated Authorities

31.      Judicial notice of signature of Designated Authority

32.      Joint Authorities

33.      Functions and powers of Joint Authorities

34.      Service of documents on a Joint Authority

PART 1.4—APPLICATION OF THIS ACT

35.      Act does not apply to exploration for or recovery of petroleum

36.      Act extends to certain external territories

37.      Act applies to all individuals and corporations

CHAPTER 2—REGULATION OF OFFSHORE EXPLORATION AND MINING

PART 2.1—GENERAL

38.      General prohibition on exploring and mining in offshore areas without appropriate authorisation under this Act

39.      Licences and consents available under this Act

40.      Steps involved in the grant of a fully effective licence

41.      Approval of form and manner of applications etc.

42.      Rights to minerals recovered

43.      Effect of grant of licence or special purpose consent on native title

44.      Licence etc. does not authorise unnecessary interference with other activities in the licence area

PART 2.2—EXPLORATION LICENCES

Division 1General

45.      Exploration licences

46.      Activities authorised by an exploration licence

47.      Joint Authority may cancel or not renew exploration licence without compensation

48.      Licence rights may be suspended

49.      Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

Division 2—Application for and grant of exploration licence over standard blocks

50.      Application for exploration licence over standard block


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

51.     Which blocks are excluded?

52.     Designated Authority may determine that excluded block is available

53.     Designated Authority may allow application for more than one discrete area

54.     How to apply

55.     Effect of inclusion of unavailable block in application

56.     Payment of fee

57.     Application must be advertised

58.     How multiple applications are dealt with

59.     Discussions about blocks applied for

60.     Advertising revised application

61.     Request for further information

62.     Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

63.     Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant exploration licence

64.     External territory offshore area—how application for exploration licence dealt with

65.     Matters to be specified in the licence

66.     Applicant must be notified

67.     Amendment of conditions

68.     Amendment of security requirements

69.     Extension of primary payment period

70.     Acceptance of grant of exploration licence for standard block

71.     Conditions applicable to licence on grant

72.     Lapse of provisional grant of exploration licence

Division 3—Application for and grant of exploration licence over tender block

73.     Matters to be determined before applications for exploration licence over tender blocks invited

74.     Joint Authority may invite applications for exploration licence over tender blocks

75.     Tender block licence notice—exploration licence

76.     Application for exploration licence over tender blocks

77.     How to apply

78.     Payment of fee

79.     Request for further information

80.     Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

81.     Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant tender block exploration licence

82.     External territory offshore area—how applications dealt with

83.     Successful applicant must be notified

84.     Acceptance of grant of exploration licence over tender blocks

85.     Conditions applicable to licence on grant

86.     Lapse of provisional grant of exploration licence

87.     Provisional grant to next applicant if grant lapses

Division 4Duration of exploration licence

88.     Initial term of exploration licence

89.     Term of renewal of exploration licence

90.     Effect of suspension of rights on term of exploration licence

91.     Effect of application for renewal on term of exploration licence

92.     Effect of application for retention licence or mining licence on term of exploration licence

93.     Effect of application for extension on term of licence

94.     Extension of licence—activities disrupted


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

95.     Grant of licence extension—activities disrupted

96.     Extension of licence—other circumstances

97.     Grant of licence extension—other circumstances

98.     Notification of decision

Division 5—Voluntary surrender of part of exploration licence area

99.     Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

100.    Voluntary surrender of blocks if up to 3 discrete areas remain

Division 6—Application for and grant of renewal of exploration licence

101.    Application for renewal of exploration licence

102.    When must an application to renew be made?

103.    How to apply for renewal

104.    Mandatory reduction of licence area on renewal of exploration licence

105.    Request for further information

106.    Payment of fee

107.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

108.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of an exploration licence

109.    External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

110.    Applicant must be notified

111.    Amendment of conditions

112.    Amendment of security requirements

113.    Extension of primary payment period

114.    Acceptance of renewal of exploration licence

115.    Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

116.    Lapse of provisional renewal of exploration licence

Division 7—Obligations associated with exploration licence

117.    General

118.    Conditions of exploration licence

119.    No conditions requiring payment of money

120.    Variation of conditions

121.    Exemption from or suspension of conditions

122.    Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

123.    Work practices

124.    Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

125.    Licence holder must assist inspectors

Division 8—Expiry of exploration licence

126.    General

127.    Voluntary surrender of exploration licence

128.    Automatic expiry of exploration licence when retention licence takes effect

129.    Automatic expiry of exploration licence when mining licence takes effect

130.    Cancellation of exploration licence

131.    Obligations’ of former exploration licence holders and former associates

PART 2.3RETENTION LICENCES

Division 1—General

132.    Retention licences


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

133.    Activities authorised by a retention licence

134.    Joint Authority may cancel or not renew retention licence without compensation

135.    Licence rights may be suspended

136.    Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

Division 2—Application for and grant of retention licence

137.    Application for retention licence

138.    How to apply

139.    Payment of fee

140.    Application must be advertised

141.    Request for further information

142.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

143.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant retention licence

144.    External territory offshore area—how application for retention licence dealt with

145.    Grounds for granting retention licence

146.    Matters to be specified in the licence

147.    Applicant must be notified

148.    Amendment of conditions

149.    Amendment of security requirements

150.    Extension of primary payment period

151.    Acceptance of grant of retention licence

152.    Conditions applicable to licence on grant

153.    Lapse of provisional grant of retention licence

Division 3—Duration of retention licence

154.    Initial term of retention licence

155.    Term of renewal of licence

156.    Effect of application for renewal on term of retention licence

157.    Effect of application for mining licence on term of retention licence

Division 4—Voluntary surrender of part of retention licence area

158.    Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

Division 5—Application for and grant of renewal of retention licence

159.    Application for renewal of retention licence

160.    When must an application to renew be made?

161.    How to apply for renewal

162.    Request for further information

163.    Payment of fee

164.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

165.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of retention licence

166.    External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

167.    Matters to be taken into account in deciding whether to renew retention licence

168.    Refusal of application for renewal

169.    Applicant must be notified

170.    Amendment of conditions

171.    Amendment of security requirements

172.    Extension of primary payment period

173.    Acceptance of renewal of retention licence


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

174.    Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

175.    Lapse of provisional renewal of retention licence

Division 6—Obligations associated with retention licence

176.    General

177.    Conditions of retention licence

178.    No conditions requiring payment of money

179.    Variation of conditions

180.    Exemption from or suspension of conditions

181.    Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

182.    Significant changes in circumstances to be reported to Designated Authority

183.    Work practices

184.    Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

185.    Licence holder must assist inspectors

Division 7—Expiry of retention licence

186.    General

187.    Voluntary surrender of retention licence

188.    Automatic expiry of retention licence when mining licence takes effect

189.    Cancellation of retention licence—breach of condition etc.

190.    Cancellation of retention licence—mining activities viable

191.    Obligations of former retention licence holders and former associates

PART 2.4—MINING LICENCES

Division 1—General

192.    Mining licences

193.    Activities authorised by a mining licence

194.    Joint Authority may cancel or not renew mining licence without compensation

195.    Licence rights may be suspended

196.    Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

Division 2—Application for and grant of mining licence over standard blocks

197.    Application for mining licence over vacant standard block

198.    Holder of exploration licence or retention licence may apply for mining licence

199.    How to apply

200.    Effect of inclusion of unavailable block in application

201.    Payment of fee

202.    Application must be advertised

203.    How multiple applications are dealt with

204.    Request for further information

205.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

206.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant mining licence

207.    External territory offshore area—how application for mining licence dealt with

208.    Refusal of application for mining licence made under section 198

209.    Matters to be specified in the licence

210.    Applicant must be notified

211.    Amendment of conditions

212.    Amendment of security requirements

213.    Extension of primary payment period

214.    Acceptance of grant of mining licence for standard block


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

215.    Conditions applicable to licence on grant

216.    Lapse of provisional grant of mining licence

Division 3—Application for and grant of mining licence over tender block

217.    Matters to be determined before applications for mining licence over tender blocks invited

218.    Joint Authority may invite applications for mining licence over tender blocks

219.    Tender block licence notice—mining licence

220.    Application for mining licence over tender blocks

221.    How to apply

222.    Payment of fee

223.    Request for further information

224.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

225.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant tender block mining licence

226.    External territory offshore area—how applications dealt with

227.    Successful applicant must be notified

228.    Acceptance of grant of mining licence over tender blocks

229.    Conditions applicable to licence on grant

230.    Lapse of provisional grant of mining licence

231.    Provisional grant to next applicant if grant lapses

Division 4—Duration of mining licence

232.    Initial term of mining licence

233.    Term of renewal of licence

234.    Effect of application for renewal on term of mining licence

Division 5—Voluntary surrender of part of mining licence area

235.    Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

Division 6—Application for and grant of renewal of mining licence

236.    Application for renewal of mining licence

237.    When must an application to renew be made?

238.    How to apply for renewal

239.    Request for further information

240.    Payment of fee

241.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

242.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of mining licence

243.    External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

244.    Matters to be taken into account in deciding whether to renew mining licence

245.    Refusal of application for renewal

246.    Applicant must be notified

247.    Amendment of conditions

248.    Amendment of security requirements

249.    Extension of primary payment period

250.    Acceptance of renewal of mining licence

251.    Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

252.    Lapse of provisional renewal of mining licence

Division 7—Obligations associated with mining licence

253.    General


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

254.    Conditions of mining licence

255.    No conditions requiring payment of money

256.    Variation of conditions

257.    Exemption from or suspension of conditions

258.    Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

259.    Work practices

260.    Licence holder must comply with Royalty Act

261.    Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

262.    Licence holder must assist inspectors

Division 8—Expiry of mining licence

263.    General

264.    Voluntary surrender of mining licence

265.    Cancellation of mining licence

266.    Obligations of former mining licence holders and former associates

PART 2.5—WORKS LICENCES

Division 1—General

267.    Works licences

268.    Activities authorised by a works licence

269.    Joint Authority may cancel or not renew works licence without compensation

Division 2—Application for and grant of works licence

270.    Application for works licence

271.    How to apply

272.    Payment of fee

273.    Applicant to notify licence holders affected by the application

274.    Application must be advertised

275.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

276.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant works licence

277.    External territory offshore area—how application for works licence dealt with

278.    Matters to be specified in the licence

279.    Applicant must be notified

280.    Amendment of conditions

281.    Amendment of security requirements

282.    Extension of primary payment period

283.    Acceptance of grant of works licence

284.    Conditions applicable to works licence on grant

285.    Lapse of provisional grant of works licence

Division 3—Duration of works licence

286.    Initial term of works licence

287.    Term of renewal of works licence

288.    Effect of application for renewal on term of works licence

Division 4—Application for and grant of renewal of works licence

289.    Application for renewal of works licence

290.    When must an application to renew be made?

291.    How to apply for renewal


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

292.    Payment of fee

293.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

294.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of works licence

295.    External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

296.    Applicant must be notified

297.    Amendment of conditions

298.    Amendment of security requirements

299.    Extension of primary payment period

300.    Acceptance of renewal of works licence

301.    Conditions applicable to works licence on renewal

302.    Lapse of provisional renewal of works licence

Division 5—Obligations associated with works licence

303.    General

304.    Conditions of works licence

305.    No conditions requiring payment of money

306.    Variation of conditions

307.    Exemption from or suspension of conditions

308.    Work practices

309.    Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

310.    Licence holder must assist inspectors

Division 6—Expiry of works licence

311.    Genera!

312.    Voluntary surrender of works licence

313.    Cancellation of works licence

314.    Obligations of former works licence holders and former associates

PART 2.6—SPECIAL PURPOSE CONSENTS

315.    Special purpose consents

316.    Activities authorised by a special purpose consent

317.    Application for a consent

318.    How to apply

319.    Payment of fee

320.    Applicant must obtain agreement of exploration, retention and mining licence holders affected by the application

321.    Applicant to notify works licence holders affected by the application

322.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

323.    Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may grant special purpose consent

324.    External territory offshore area—how application for special purpose consent dealt with

325.    Matters to be specified in the consent

326.    Duration of consent

327.    Conditions of consent

CHAPTER 3—REGISTRATION AND DEALINGS

PART 3.1—REGISTRATION

Division 1—Preliminary

328.    Registers to be kept


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

329.    Associated document files to be kept

330.    Form of register and document file

331.    Correction of errors in the register

332.    Inspection of register and documents

Division 2Matters to be entered in register

Subdivision A—Licences

333.    Licences

334.    Renewal of licences

335.    Extension of exploration licences

336.    Expiry of licences

337.    Variations etc. to licences

338.    Transfer of licences

339.    Other dealings in licences

340.    Devolution of licences

Subdivision B—Caveats

341.    Effect of a caveat

342.    Lodgment of caveats

343.    Form of caveat

344.    Payment of fee

345.    Caveat to be registered

346.    Withdrawal of caveat

347.    Form of withdrawal

348.    Duration of caveat

349.    Notice to caveat holder

350.    Caveat holder may consent to approval or registration

351.    Orders that can be made by a court in relation to caveats

Division 3—Miscellaneous

352.    Fees for registration

353.    Protection from legal actions

354.    Appeals

355.    Appeals against determinations under section 352

356.    Supreme Court

357.    Evidentiary value of register

358.    Certified copy of document on associated document file

359.    Certification of registration action

PART 3.2—DEALINGS IN REGISTERED LICENCES

Division 1—Dealings in licences to be in writing and registered

360.    Dealings in licences to be in writing

361.    Dealings in interests in licences not effective until registered

Division 2—Approval of transfer of licences

362.    Transfers require approval by Joint Authority

363.    Application for approval of transfer

364.    Designated Authority may ask for further information

365.    Joint Authority’s response to application for approval

366.    Protection from legal actions


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

CHAPTER 4—ADMINISTRATION

PART 4.1—INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

Section

367.    Designated Authority may ask person for information

368.    Power to ask people to appear

369.    Power to examine on oath or affirmation

370.    Designated Authority may ask for documents

371.    Designated Authority may ask for samples

372.    Obligation to comply with request under section 367, 368, 370 or 371

373.    Immunity from use of information etc. given in response to request under section 367, 368, 370 or 371

374.    Restrictions on release of confidential material

375.    Circumstances in which confidential material may be released

376.    Certain reports to be made available

PART 4.2—MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT

Division 1—Inspections

377.    Compliance inspections

378.    Powers exercisable in course of inspection

379.    Inspection of licence-related premises etc. without warrant

380.    Inspection of other premises etc. with occupier’s consent

381.    Inspection of other premises etc. with warrant

382.    Procedure for obtaining warrant

383.    Warrant authorises reasonable assistance and force

384.    Occupier to cooperate with inspector

Division 2—Directions

385.    Directions by Designated Authority must be obeyed

386.    Scope of compliance directions

387.    Designated Authority may give directions

388.    Direction may incorporate material in another document

389.    Direction may impose absolute prohibition

390.    Compliance direction may extend to associates

391.    Holder to give notice of direction to associates

392.    Power to give directions after licence etc. ends

393.    Effect of a compliance direction on other instruments

394.    Designated Authority may specify time for compliance

395.    Designated Authority may take action if holder fails to comply

396.    Costs incurred by Designated Authority in taking action under section 395

397.    Defences to actions to recover debts

Division 3—Securities

398.    Securities

399.    Determination of requirement to lodge security

400.    Application of security

Division 4—Restoration of environment

401.    Removal of property from offshore area

402.    Rehabilitation of damaged areas

Division 5Safety zones

403.   Declaration of safety zone around a structure or equipment


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

404.    Effect of declaration of safety zone

Division 6—Offences

405.    General regime for criminal offences

PART 4.3—REVIEW OF DECISIONS MADE ABOUT THE OFFSHORE AREAS OF EXTERNAL TERRITORIES

406.    Definitions

407.    Review of delegated decisions

PART 4.4—PROCEDURES OF JOINT AUTHORITIES AND DESIGNATED AUTHORITIES

408.    Procedure of Joint Authority

409.    Decision-making

410.    Opinion or state of mind of Joint Authority

411.    Records of proceedings of Joint Authority

412.    Signing of documents

413.    Communications with Joint Authority

414.    Ministerial colleague acting on behalf of responsible Commonwealth Minister

415.    Acting responsible Commonwealth Minister

416.    Circumstances in which confidential material released

417.    Execution and issue of documents on behalf of Joint Authority

418.    Service of notices on behalf of Joint Authority

419.    Delegation by Designated Authority

420.    Application of this Part to external territories

PART 4.5—INSPECTORS

421.    Appointment of inspectors

422.    Identity cards

423.    Return of identity card

PART 4.6—FINANCE

424.    Fees received on behalf of the Commonwealth

425.    Payments by the Commonwealth to the States—Royalty Act payments

426.    Payments by the Commonwealth to the States—other payments

427.    Appropriation

CHAPTER 5—MISCELLANEOUS

PART 5.1—APPLICATION OF LAWS

428.    State’s or external territory’s offshore laws apply to mineral exploration and recovery in offshore area

429.    Criminal laws not applied

430.    Laws inconsistent with Commonwealth laws not applied

431.    Tax laws not applied

432.    Applied laws not to confer Commonwealth judicial power

433.    Applied laws not to contravene constitutional restrictions on conferring powers on courts

434.    Applied laws not to appropriate Territory Consolidated Revenue Fund

435.    Jurisdiction of State courts


TABLE OF PROVISIONS—continued

Section

436.    Jurisdiction of external territory courts

437.    Validation of certain actions

PART 5.2—MISCELLANEOUS

438.    Service of documents on licence holders etc.

439.    Vesting jurisdiction in State courts

440.    Regulations

SCHEDULE 1

SAVINGS AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

SCHEDULE 2

MAP OF THE COMMONWEALTH-STATE OFFSHORE AREAS


Offshore Minerals Act 1994

No. 28 of 1994

 

An Act relating to exploration for, and the recovery of,
minerals (other than petroleum) in certain offshore
areas, and for related purposes

[Assented to 25 February 1994]

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

CHAPTER 1—INTRODUCTION

PART 1.1—LEGISLATIVE FORMALITIES AND BACKGROUND

Short title

1.  This Act may be cited as the Offshore Minerals Act 1994.

Commencement

2.  This Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.


Commonwealth-State agreement (the Offshore Constitutional Settlement)

3.(1) The Commonwealth and the States have agreed that:

(a)  Commonwealth offshore mining legislation should be limited to the area that is outside State coastal waters; and

(b)  the States should share, in the manner provided by this Act, in the administration of the Commonwealth offshore mining legislation; and

(c)  State offshore mining legislation should apply to State coastal waters beyond the baseline for the territorial sea (that is, the first 3 nautical miles of the territorial sea); and

(d)  the Commonwealth and the States should try to maintain, as far as practicable, common principles, rules and practices in regulating and controlling offshore mining beyond the baseline of Australia’s territorial sea.

Note: So far as the agreement relates to petroleum, it is reflected in Commonwealth legislation by the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.

(2)  Other Acts that provide background to the agreement (commonly referred to as the “Offshore Constitutional Settlement”) are:

(a)  the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973; and

(b)  the Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980; and

(c)  the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980; and

(d)  the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967; and

(e)  the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Powers) Act 1980; and

(f)   the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980.

Note 1:   The Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973:

•  declared and enacted that the sovereignty in respect of the territorial sea and the associated airspace, seabed and subsoil is vested in and exercisable by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth;

•  gave the Governor-General power to declare, by Proclamation, the limits of the territorial sea;

•  declared and enacted that the sovereignty in respect of waters of the sea that are on the landward side of the baseline of the territorial sea (but not within the limits of a State) and in respect of the associated airspace, seabed and subsoil is vested in and exercisable by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth;

•  declared and enacted that the sovereign rights of Australia as a coastal State in respect of the Continental Shelf of Australia (for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources) are vested in and exercisable by the Crown in right of the Commonwealth;

•  gave the Governor-General power to declare, by Proclamation, the limits of the Continental Shelf of Australia.

Note 2:   The Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980 was enacted following a request from the Parliaments of all the States under paragraph 51 (xxxviii) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth and provided that the legislative powers exercisable under the Constitution of each State extended to the making of certain laws that would operate offshore.

Note 3:   The Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980 vested in each State certain property rights in the seabed beneath the coastal waters of the State.


Note 4:   The Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 makes provision, based on the agreement referred to in subsection (1), for the licensing regime that applies to the exploration for and recovery of petroleum in offshore areas.

Note 5:   The Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Powers) Act 1980 makes similar provision to the State Powers Act in relation to the Northern Territory.

Note 6:   The Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Title) Act 1980 makes similar provision to the State Title Act in relation to the Northern Territory.


PART 1.2—INTERPRETATION

Division 1General

Interpretation

4.    In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

“approved” means approved by the Designated Authority under section 41;

“associate” has the meaning given by subsection 26(1);

“associated agent of a holder” has the meaning given by subsection 26(3);

“associated agent of an associated contractor” has the meaning given by subsection 26(4);

“associated contractor” has the meaning given by subsection 26(2);

“associated document file” means an associated document file kept for the purposes of Part 3.1;

“associated employee of an associated contractor” has the meaning given by subsection 26(6);

“associated employee of a holder” has the meaning given by subsection 26(5);

“associated revenue Act” means:

(a)   the Exploration Licence Fees Act; or

(b)  the Mining Licence Fees Act; or

(c)   the Retention Licence Fees Act; or

(d)  the Works Licence Fees Act; or

(e)   the Registration Fees Act; or

(f)   the Royalty Act; or

(g)  the Exploration Licence User Charge Act; or

(h)  the Retention Licence User Charge Act;

“block” means a portion of an offshore area constituted according to section 17;

“caveat” on a licence means a caveat against:

(a)  the registration of dealings in relation to the licence; or

(b)  the registration of a person as a holder of the licence under section 340;

“coastal waters” of a State has the meaning given by section 16;

“Commonwealth Minister” means a Minister of State for the Commonwealth;

“Commonwealth-State offshore area” has the meaning given by section 13;

“compliance direction” means a direction under section 387 or 392;

“compliance inspection” has the meaning given by section 377;

“confidential information” has the meaning given by section 27;


“confidential sample” has the meaning given by section 28;

“consent area” means the block or blocks specified in a special purpose consent;

“Continental Shelf” means the continental shelf of Australia within the meaning of the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973;

“dealing” in a licence means a transaction that creates, transfers, affects or otherwise deals with an interest in the licence and includes:

(a)   a transfer of the licence; and

(b)  a transfer of a share in a licence;

“Designated Authority” has the meaning given by section 29;

Note: If this Act confers a power or function on a Designated Authority generally, that power can be exercised, and that function can be performed, as provided by section 30.

“discrete area” has the meaning given by section 21;

“exploration” has the meaning given by section 23;

“Exploration Licence Fees Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Exploration Licence Fees) Act 1981;

“Exploration Licence User Charge Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Exploration Licence User Charge) Act 1994;

“external territory” means an external territory to which this Act extends under section 36;

“external territory offshore area” has the meaning given by section 14;

“Fees Act” means:

(a)  when used in relation to an exploration licence—the Offshore Minerals (Exploration Licence Fees) Act 1981; and

(b)  when used in relation to a retention licence—the Offshore Minerals (Retention Licence Fees) Act 1994; and

(c)  when used in relation to a mining licence—the Offshore Minerals (Mining Licence Fees) Act 1981; and

(d)  when used in relation to a works licence—the Offshore Minerals (Works Licence Fees) Act 1981;

and includes regulations made under those Acts;

“Gazette” means:

(a)   in relation to a Commonwealth-State offshore area—the Government Gazette of the State; or

(b)  in relation to an external territory offshore area—the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette;

“holder” of a licence has the meaning given by subsection 25(1);

“hydrocarbon” means a hydrocarbon whether in a gaseous, liquid or solid state;

“inspector” means an inspector appointed under section 421;

“interest”, in relation to a licence, includes:


(a)  an equitable interest in the licence; and

(b)  a security interest in the licence;

“Joint Authority” has the meaning given by section 32;

Note: If this Act confers a power or function on a Joint Authority generally, that power can be exercised, and that function can be performed, as provided by section 33.

“licence” means:

(a)   an exploration licence; or

(b)  a retention licence; or

(c)   a mining licence; or

(d)  a works licence;

“licence area” means the block or blocks covered by a licence;

“mineral” has the meaning given by section 22;

“Mining Licence Fees Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Mining Licence Fees) Act 1981;

“native title” and “native title rights and interests” have the same meaning as in the Native Title Act 1993;

“offshore area” means a Commonwealth-State offshore area or an external territory offshore area;

“offshore exploration or mining activity” means:

(a)  the exploration for minerals in an offshore area; or

(b)  the recovery of minerals from an offshore area; or

(c)  activities carried out in an offshore area under a works licence;

“offshore mining register” means a register kept for the purposes of Part 3.1;

“petroleum” means:

(a)   a hydrocarbon or a mixture of hydrocarbons; or

(b)  a mixture of one or more hydrocarbons and one or more of the following:

(i)    hydrogen sulphide;

(ii)     nitrogen;

(iii)     helium;

(iv)    carbon dioxide;

“primary payment period” for the provisional grant or provisional renewal of a licence means the period of 30 days after the day on which the applicant is given a written notice:

(a)  in the case of the grant of an exploration licence—under section 66 or 83; and

(b)  in the case of the renewal of an exploration licence—under section 110; and

(c)   in the case of the grant of a retention licence—under section 147; and


(d)  in the case of the renewal of a retention licence—under section 169; and

(e)  in the case of the grant of a mining licence—under section 210 or 227; and

(f)  in the case of the renewal of a mining licence—under section 246; and

(g)  in the case of the grant of a works licence—under section 279; and

(h)  in the case of the renewal of a works licence—under section 296;

“provisional holder” means a person who has been provisionally granted a licence;

“recovery” has the meaning given by section 24;

“registered” means registered in an offshore mining register;

“Registration Fees Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Registration Fees) Act 1981;

“reserved block” is a block that is declared to be reserved under section 18;

“responsible Commonwealth Minister” means the Commonwealth Minister who is responsible for the administration of this Act;

“responsible State Minister”, for a State means the State Minister who is authorised under a law of the State to perform the functions of a Designated Authority under this Act;

“Retention Licence Fees Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Retention Licence Fees) Act 1994;

“Retention Licence User Charge Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Retention Licence User Charge) Act 1994;

“Royalty Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Royalty) Act 1981;

“sample” of the seabed or subsoil in an offshore area includes a core or cutting from the seabed or subsoil in that area;

“secondary payment period” for the provisional grant or provisional renewal of a licence means the period of 30 days after the day on which an extension of the primary payment period for the grant or renewal concerned ends;

“share” in a licence has the meaning given by subsections 6(1), (2) and (3);

“special purpose consent” means a consent granted under Part 2.6;

“standard block” has the meaning given by section 19;

“State” has a meaning that is affected by the operation of section 5;

“State Minister” means:

(a)  a Minister of State for a State; or

(b)  a Minister of State for the Northern Territory;

“successor licence” to a licence has the meaning given by section 8;

Note: See section 15.

“surrender day” for an exploration licence means:


(a)  the day on which the initial term of the licence ends; or

(b)  a day on which the term of a renewal of the licence ends;

“tender block” has the meaning given by section 20;

“the 1981 Act” means the Minerals (Submerged Lands) Act 1981;

“transfer”:

(a)  when used in relation to a licence—has the meaning given by subsection 7(1); and

(b)  when used in relation to a share in a licence—has the meaning given by subsections 7(2) and (3);

“vary” a licence condition includes revoke or suspend;

“Works Licence Fees Act” means the Offshore Minerals (Works Licence Fees) Act 1981.

Treatment of the Northern Territory

5.    For the purposes of this Act:

(a)   the Northern Territory is to be treated as though it were a State; and

(b)  the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is to be treated as though it were the Parliament of a State; and

(c)   Ministers of the Northern Territory are to be treated as though they were Ministers of a State; and

(d)  the laws of the Northern Territory are to be treated as though they were State laws; and

(e)   the Northern Territory’s courts, tribunals, authorities and officers are to be treated as though they were State courts, tribunals, authorities and officers.

Note:      For the significance of paragraphs (d) and (e) see Part 5.1 (application of State laws to Commonwealth-State offshore areas).

Shares in a licence

6.(1) A person has a share in a licence if the person is the holder, or one of the holders, of the licence.

(2)  If a holder is entitled to a particular percentage of the value of the rights conferred by a licence, that percentage is the holder’s share in the licence.

Note: A sole holder has a 100% share in the licence.

(3)  If:

(a)   a person is a registered holder of a licence; and

(b)  the person is shown in an offshore mining register as being entitled to a specified percentage of the value of the rights conferred by the licence;

the person’s share in the licence is taken to be the percentage specified in the register.


Transfer of a licence

7.(1) For the purposes of this Act, a licence is transferred if:

(a)   the licence has only one holder and the holder transfers the whole of his or her interest in the licence to another person or other persons; or

(b)  the licence has 2 or more holders and the holders all transfer the whole of their interests in the licence to another person or other persons.

(2)  For the purposes of this Act, a share in a licence is transferred if:

(a)   the licence has only one holder and the holder transfers a part of the holder’s share in the licence to another person or other persons; or

(b)  the licence has 2 or more holders and:

(i)  some, but not all, of the holders transfer the whole of their shares in the licence to another person; or

(ii)   some or all of the holders transfer a part of their shares in the licence to another person.

(3)  The other person referred to in paragraph (2)(b) may be an existing licence holder.

Successor licences

8.(1) If:

(a)   a mining licence takes effect immediately after an exploration licence expires; and

(b)  the holder of the mining licence immediately after it takes effect was the holder of the exploration licence immediately before it expired;

the mining licence is a successor licence to the exploration licence.

(2)  If:

(a)  a retention licence takes effect immediately after an exploration licence expires; and

(b)  the holder of the retention licence immediately after it takes effect was the holder of the exploration licence immediately before it expired;

the retention licence is a successor licence to the exploration licence.

(3)  If:

(a)   a mining licence takes effect immediately after a retention licence expires; and

(b)  the retention licence took effect immediately after an exploration licence expired; and

(c)   the holder of the mining licence immediately after it takes effect was the holder of the retention licence immediately before it expired; and


(d)  the holder of the retention licence immediately after it took effect was the holder of the exploration licence immediately before it expired;

the mining licence is a successor licence to the exploration licence and the retention licence.

Notes, diagrams etc. form part of section etc.

9.(1) For the purposes of this Act, a diagram is taken to be part of:

(a)   if the diagram occurs in a section containing subsections—the subsection immediately preceding the diagram; or

(b)  if the diagram occurs in a section without subsections—the section.

(2)  For the purposes of this Act, a Note is taken to be part of:

(a)  if the Note immediately follows a section without subsections—the section; or

(b)  if the Note immediately follows a subsection—the subsection; or

(c)  if the Note immediately follows a definition and is aligned with the text of the definition—the definition.

Position on the Earth’s surface

10.(1) Subject to subsection (2), this is how the position of a point, line or area on the Earth’s surface is to be worked out for the purposes of this Act and subordinate instruments:

(a)   the position is to be worked out by reference to a spheroid that:

(i)      has a major (equatorial) radius of 6,378,160 metres; and

(ii)     has a flattening of 100/29825; and

(b)  the Johnston Geodetic Station in the Northern Territory is taken to be located 571.2 metres above the point on the surface of the spheroid that is at:

(i)     133°12’30.0771” East Longitude; and

(ii)     25°56’54.5515” South Latitude.

(2)  The position on the Earth’s surface of a point or line specified in an International Seabed Agreement is to be worked out for the purposes of this Act and subordinate instruments in accordance with the Agreement.

(3)  In this section:

“International Seabed Agreement” means:

(a)  the Agreement between Australia and Indonesia that was signed at Canberra on 18 May 1971 and established certain seabed boundaries; and

(b)  the Agreement between Australia and Indonesia that was signed at Jakarta on 9 October 1972 and established certain seabed boundaries in the area of the Timor and Arafura Seas; and


(c)   the Agreement between Australia and Indonesia that was signed at Jakarta on 12 February 1973 and that related to certain boundaries between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia; and

(d)  the treaty between Australia and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea concerning sovereignty and maritime boundaries in the area between the 2 countries, including the area known as the Torres Strait, and related matters that was signed at Sydney on 18 December 1978; and

(e)   the Agreement on Maritime Delimitation between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic that was signed at Melbourne on 4 January 1982; and

(f)   the agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Solomon Islands Establishing Certain Sea and Seabed Boundaries that was signed at Honiara on 13 September 1988;

and includes those agreements as varied from time to time;

“subordinate instrument” means:

(a)   the regulations; and

(b)  instruments made under this Act and the regulations.

Effect of maximum penalty at foot of section or subsection 11.(1) A maximum penalty that is specified:

(a)   at the foot of a section of this Act (other than a section that is divided into subsections); or

(b)  at the foot of a subsection of this Act;

indicates that a person who intentionally or recklessly contravenes the section or subsection is guilty of an offence against the section or subsection that is punishable, on conviction, by a penalty up to that maximum.

Note: See also subsection 405(2).

(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to section 44.

Power to vary and revoke instruments

12.(1) Under subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, any provision of this Act that confers a power to do something in writing is also taken to confer the power to repeal, rescind, revoke, amend or vary the written document by which that thing is done.

(2)  The power to repeal, rescind, revoke, amend or vary:

(a)  must also be exercised in writing; and

(b)  is subject to the same procedural requirements as the original power; and

(c)  is subject to the same conditions as those that governed the exercise of the original power.


Division 2Basic concepts

Commonwealth-State offshore areas

13.(1) The Commonwealth-State offshore area for a State is the area that is the adjacent area for the State for the purposes of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.

Note:      The “adjacent area” for the purposes of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 is worked out by taking an area off the coast of the State that is described in Schedule 2 to that Act and then excluding all waters within a line 3 nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline and also excluding any areas that are beyond the outer limits of the Continental Shelf. The map in Schedule 2 to this Act illustrates the Commonwealth-State offshore areas. The map is intended to show roughly the boundaries between the various Commonwealth-State offshore areas and the outer limits of those areas (sometimes the limits of the Continental Shelf, sometimes a bilaterally negotiated boundary and sometimes an arbitrary median boundary adopted pending bilateral negotiations).

(2)  The following diagram illustrates how a Commonwealth-State offshore area relates to:

(a)  the territorial sea baseline; and

(b)  the 3 nautical mile limit (the outer limit of the State’s coastal waters); and

(c)  the 12 nautical mile limit (the outer limit of the territorial sea); and

(d)  the outer limits of the Continental Shelf.


Note 1:   For the “baseline” see Australia’s territorial sea baseline (AGPS) 1988: generally the baseline is the lowest astronomical tide along the coast but it also includes lines enclosing bays and indentations that are not bays and straight baselines that depart from the coast.

Note 2:   The “Continental Shelf” in a legal sense starts not from the coast but from the outer limits of the territorial sea. In a geophysical sense, of course, the continental shelf starts at the coast. The diagram shows the outer edge of the continental margin as the limit of the Continental Shelf but sometimes the 200 nautical mile limit defines the limit of the Continental Shelf.

Note 3:   Sometimes the outer limit of the Commonwealth-State offshore area is a bilaterally negotiated boundary or a median line adopted pending bilateral negotiations.


External territory offshore areas

14.(1) The external territory offshore area for the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands is the area that is the adjacent area for that Territory for the purposes of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.

Note 1:   The “adjacent area” for the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands for the purposes of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 is worked out by taking the area off the coast of the territory that is described in Schedule 2 to that Act and then excluding any areas that are beyond the Continental Shelf.

Note 2:   Under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, any land that is in the adjacent area for the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands is treated as submerged land and as part of the seabed and subsoil of that adjacent area.

(2)  The external territory offshore area for Norfolk Island, the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands is the area which starts at the coastline of the Islands at mean low water and ends at the outer limit of the superjacent waters of the Continental Shelf adjacent to the coast of the islands.

Note:      Under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, the adjacent area for the Coral Sea Islands Territory is treated as being part of the adjacent area for Queensland. Therefore, in this Act, the Coral Sea offshore area is part of the Commonwealth-Queensland offshore area.

Effect of change in baseline

15.(1) If:

(a)  an area is covered by a licence; and

(b)  there is a change to the baseline of Australia’s territorial sea; and

(c)  as a result of the change to the baseline, the area ceases to be within an offshore area;

this Act applies as if the area were still within the offshore area.

(2)  Subsection (1) continues to apply to the area only while the licence (and any successor licence) remains in force.

(3)  If:

(a)  an area in a State’s coastal waters is covered by a State offshore mining licence; and

(b)  there is a change to the baseline of Australia’s territorial sea; and

(c)  as a result of the change to the baseline, the area:

(i)    ceases to be within the State’s coastal waters; and

(ii)     falls within an offshore area;

this Act does not apply to the area.

(4)  Subsection (3) continues to apply to the area only while the State offshore mining licence (and any successor licence) remains in force.

(5)  In this section:

“State offshore mining licence” means a licence granted under State law that authorises the holder to:


(a)  explore for or recover minerals (other than petroleum) in the seabed or subsoil under the State’s coastal waters; or

(b)  carry out related activities;

“successor licence” to a State offshore mining licence is a licence that is a successor licence to that licence for the purposes of State law.

Coastal waters of a State

16.(1) The coastal waters of a State are so much of the area off the coast of the State that is described in Schedule 2 to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 as is constituted by:

(a)   the first 3 nautical miles of the Australian territorial sea from the baseline; and

(b)  any waters that are inside the baseline and not within the limits of the State.

(2)  The following diagram illustrates the coastal waters of a State:

Note:      For the “baseline” see Australia’s territorial sea baseline (AGPS) 1988: generally the baseline is the lowest astronomical tide along the coast but it also includes lines enclosing bays and indentations that are not bays and straight baselines that depart from the coast.


Blocks

17.(1) This is how a block is constituted in an offshore area:

(a)  assume that there is laid over the offshore area a grid constituted by:

(i)  lines running along meridians drawn through each degree of longitude and the minutes between those degrees; and

(ii)  lines running along parallels drawn through each degree of latitude and the minutes between those degrees;

(b)  take a bounded space defined by the grid;

(c)  the seabed and subsoil within the offshore area that is under that space is a block in the offshore area.

(2)  The following diagram shows how a block is constituted:

Note:      Each block is identified by giving the name of the plan in the 1:1,000,000 map series, an identifying number of the 5 minute primary block and a letter identifying the 1 minute block. The block in the diagram is 1621(a) on the Darwin sheet.

Reserved block

18.(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Joint Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area may declare that a block in the offshore area is a reserved block.

Note 1:   A reserved block may be put up for tender by a Joint Authority publishing in the Gazette a tender block licence notice (see sections 74 and 218).

Note 2:   Paragraph 23(b) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 allows a single declaration under this subsection to be made in respect of 2 or more blocks.


(2)  Subject to subsection (3), the responsible Commonwealth Minister may declare that a block in an external territory offshore area is a reserved block.

Note 1: A reserved block may be put up for tender by the responsible Commonwealth Minister publishing in the Gazette a tender block licence notice (see sections 74 and 218).

Note 2: Paragraph 23(b) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 allows a single declaration under this subsection to be made in respect of 2 or more blocks.

(3)  A declaration under subsection (1) or (2) must not be made in relation to a block if:

(a)  a licence over that block is in force; or

(b)  an application for a licence over that block has been made and has not been determined.

(4)  A declaration under subsection (1) or (2) must be made by notice published in the Gazette.

Standard block

19.  A standard block is a block that is not the subject of a declaration under subsection 18(1) or (2).

Tender block

20.  A tender block is a block that is the subject of a tender block licence notice published by the Joint Authority under section 74 or section 218.

Discrete area

21.  A group of blocks forms a discrete area if the area formed by the blocks is continuous.

Mineral

22.(1) A mineral is a naturally occurring substance or a naturally occurring mixture of substances.

Note: This Act does not apply to petroleum (see section 35).

(2)  Without limiting subsection (1), a mineral may be in the form of sand, gravel, clay, limestone, rock, evaporites, shale, oil-shale or coal.

Exploration

23.(1) For the purposes of this Act, exploration for minerals includes any activity that is directly related to the exploration for minerals.

(2)  For the purposes of this Act, exploration does not include the exploration for minerals of the subsoil of a Commonwealth-State offshore area that is carried out by means of underground mining from State land in accordance with any law of the State governing mineral exploration.

Recovery

24.(1) For the purposes of this Act, recovery of minerals includes any activity that is directly related to the recovery of minerals.


(2)  For the purposes of this Act, recovery does not include the recovery of minerals from the subsoil of a Commonwealth-State offshore area that is carried out by means of underground mining from State land in accordance with any law of the State governing mineral recovery.

Licence holder

25.(1) For the purposes of this Act, the holder of a licence is the person whose name is on the relevant offshore mining register as the person who holds the licence.

Note 1: This Act is based upon the grant and registration of licences.

Note 2: If a licence is granted to a person, that person’s name is entered on the register (see section 333).

Note 3: The entry on the register in relation to a licence will be varied if there is a change in the licence holder (see subsection 338(5)).

(2)  A licence may be held by more than one person.

Associates

26.(1) For the purposes of this Act, the following are the associates of a licence holder:

(a)  associated contractors of the holder;

(b)  associated agents of the holder;

(c)  associated agents of associated contractors;

(d)  associated employees of the holder;

(e)  associated employees of associated contractors.

(2)  A person is an associated contractor of the holder if:

(a)  the person enters an agreement with the holder for carrying out activities under the licence; or

(b)  the person enters an agreement with a person who is an associated contractor under paragraph (a) or this paragraph for carrying out activities under the licence.

(3)  A person is an associated agent of the holder if the person is the agent of, or acts on behalf of, the holder in relation to carrying out activities under the licence.

(4)  A person is an associated agent of an associated contractor if the person is the agent of, or acts on behalf of, the associated contractor in relation to carrying out activities under the licence.

(5)  A person is an associated employee of the holder if the person is employed by the holder and, in the course of that employment, carries out activities under the licence.

(6)  A person is an associated employee of an associated contractor if the person is employed by the associated contractor and, in the course of that employment, carries out activities under the licence.


Confidential information

27.(1) For the purposes of this Act, information is confidential information if:

(a)   a licence holder has given it to the Designated Authority; and

(b)  it is in a record, return, report or document; and

(c)   it relates to activities authorised by the licence; and

(d)  it relates to an area of the seabed or subsoil of an offshore area that is covered by the licence or a successor licence to the licence.

(2)  However, if:

(a)  a person is required to give the Designated Authority a report in relation to particular blocks; and

(b)  the person gives the Designated Authority a report that relates not only to those blocks but also to other blocks; and

(c)  the Designated Authority is required to make the report available under section 376;

the information that relates to those other blocks is not confidential information.

Confidential sample

28.  For the purposes of this Act, a core, cutting or sample is a confidential sample if:

(a)   a licence holder has given it to the Designated Authority; and

(b)  it was recovered in the course of activities authorised by the licence; and

(c)   it was recovered from an area of the seabed or subsoil of an offshore area that is covered by the licence or a successor licence to the licence.


PART 1.3—DESIGNATED AUTHORITIES AND JOINT
AUTHORITIES

Designated Authorities

29.(1) For the purposes of this Act, there is a Designated Authority for each offshore area.

(2)  The Designated Authority for the Commonwealth-State offshore area of a State is the responsible State Minister.

(3)  The Designated Authority for an external territory offshore area is the responsible Commonwealth Minister.

Functions and powers of Designated Authorities

30.(1)   A Designated Authority for a State has, in relation to the Commonwealth-State offshore area for that State, the functions and powers that this Act confers on a Designated Authority.

(2)  A State Minister acting on behalf of the responsible State Minister may perform the functions and exercise the powers that the responsible State Minister has in the capacity of Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(3)  The Designated Authority for an external territory offshore area has, in relation to the external territory offshore area, the functions and powers that this Act confers on a Designated Authority.

(4)  A Commonwealth Minister acting on behalf of the responsible Commonwealth Minister may perform the functions and exercise the powers that the responsible Commonwealth Minister has in the capacity of Designated Authority of an external territory offshore area.

Judicial notice of signature of Designated Authority

31.(1) All courts must take judicial notice of:

(a)   the signature of a person who is, or has been:

(i)    the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area; or

(ii)   a delegate of the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area; or

(iii)   a State Minister acting on behalf of the responsible State Minister under subsection 30(2); and

(b)  the fact that that person is, or was:

(i)    the Designated Authority for that offshore area; or

(ii)   acting on behalf of the responsible State Minister under subsection 30(2).


(2)  All courts must take judicial notice of:

(a)   the signature of a person who is, or has been:

(i)    the Designated Authority for an external offshore area; or

(ii)  a delegate of the Designated Authority for an external territory offshore area; or

(iii)  a Commonwealth Minister acting on behalf of the responsible Commonwealth Minister under subsection 30(4); and

(b)  the fact that that person is, or was:

(i)    the Designated Authority for that offshore area; or

(ii)  acting on behalf of the responsible Commonwealth Minister under subsection 30(4).

Joint Authorities

32.(1) For the purposes of this Act, there is a Joint Authority for each offshore area.

(2)  The Joint Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area is constituted by the responsible State Minister and the responsible Commonwealth Minister.

Note: The procedures which are to be followed by Joint Authorities are set out in sections 408 to 418.

(3)  The Joint Authority for an external territory offshore area is the responsible Commonwealth Minister.

Functions and powers of Joint Authorities

33.(1) A Joint Authority for a State has, in relation to the Commonwealth-State offshore area for that State, the functions and powers that this Act confers on a Joint Authority.

(2)  The responsible Commonwealth Minister has, in relation to an external territory offshore area, the functions and powers that this Act confers on a Joint Authority.

Service of documents on a Joint Authority

34.  A document that is to be given to the Joint Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area may be given to the Joint Authority by giving it to the Designated Authority for that offshore area.


PART 1.4—APPLICATION OF THIS ACT

Act does not apply to exploration for or recovery of petroleum

35.  This Act does not apply to the exploration for or recovery of petroleum.

Note 1: For “petroleum” see section 4.

Note 2: Offshore petroleum exploration and mining are regulated by the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.

Act extends to certain external territories

36.  This Act extends to the following external territories:

(a)   the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands;

(b)  Norfolk Island;

(c)   the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands;

(d)  Christmas Island;

(e)   the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands;

(f)   the Coral Sea Islands Territory.

Note 1: This Act treats the Coral Sea Islands Territory offshore area as part of Queensland’s offshore area.

Note 2: This Act operates in a Commonwealth-State offshore area on the basis of shared administration between the Commonwealth and the State and this involves sharing powers between Designated Authorities and Joint Authorities. In external territory offshore areas, the responsible Commonwealth Minister exercises all the powers and therefore has both Designated Authority powers and Joint Authority powers. When the Commonwealth-State offshore area regime requires communication and consultation between Designated Authorities and Joint Authorities, this Act contains special provisions dealing with external territory offshore areas (see, for example, section 64).

Note 3: This Act provides for review of the decisions of the Designated Authority in relation to external territory offshore areas (see Part 4.3).

Act applies to all individuals and corporations

37.(1) This Act applies to all individuals, including:

(a)   individuals who are not Australian citizens; and

(b)  individuals who are not resident in Australia or an external territory.

(2)  This Act applies to all corporations, including:

(a)  corporations that are not incorporated in Australia; and

(b)  corporations that do not carry on business in Australia or an external territory.


CHAPTER 2—REGULATION OF OFFSHORE EXPLORATION
AND MINING

PART 2.1—GENERAL

General prohibition on exploring and mining in offshore areas without appropriate authorisation under this Act

38.  A person must not:

(a)   explore for minerals in an offshore area; or

(b)  recover minerals from an offshore area;

unless the exploration or recovery is authorised by a licence or special purpose consent granted under this Act.

Note: A works licence may be necessary because “exploration” includes activities that are directly related to exploration (see subsection 23(1)) and “recovery” includes activities that are directly related to recovery (see subsection 24(1)).

Maximum penalty: 300 penalty units.

Licences and consents available under this Act

39.  This Act provides for the grant of:

(a)  exploration licences (see Part 2.2); and

(b)  retention licences (see Part 2.3); and

(c)  mining licences (see Part 2.4); and

(d)  works licences (see Part 2.5); and

(e)  special purpose consents (see Part 2.6).

Note 1: An exploration licence is designed to cover the exploration phase of a project and authorises:

•  exploration; and

•  the recovery of mineral samples.

Note 2: A retention licence is designed to ensure the retention of rights pending the transition of a project from the exploration phase to the commercial mining phase and authorises:

•  exploration; and

•  the recovery of minerals but not as part of a commercial mining operation.

Note 3: A mining licence is designed to cover the commercial mining phase of a project and authorises:

•  exploration; and

•  full commercial recovery.

Note 4: A project might make use of any of the following 3 licence arrangements:

•  an exploration licence leading to a mining licence;

•  an exploration licence leading to a retention licence and then a mining licence;

•  a mining licence (without progressing through an exploration/retention licence stage).

Note 5: A licence is granted over a particular area (constituted by blocks). The licence holder may need to carry out engineering or other activities outside the licence area. If so, the licence holder or someone else must obtain a works licence to carry out those activities.

Note 6: If a person wants to carry out:

•  a scientific investigation; or

•  a reconnaissance survey; or

•  the collection of only small amounts of minerals;

in an offshore area, the person must obtain a special purpose consent under Part 2.6 to carry out the activity.


Note 7: Even though a person has a licence or special purpose consent, the person must not interfere unnecessarily with navigation, native title, fishing, resource conservation or other activities in the area (see section 44).

Steps involved in the grant of a fully effective licence

40.(1) The following 3 steps must occur before a licence comes into force:

(a)  provisional grant of the licence;

(b)  proper acceptance of the grant;

(c)  registration of the grant.

Note: See sections 88, 154, 232 and 286.

(2)  If a licence is provisionally granted to a person, the person must do the following to properly accept the grant:

(a)   give the Designated Authority a written acceptance;

(b)  lodge any security that the Joint Authority has required;

(c)   pay the fees that are payable under the Fees Act.

Note: See sections 70, 84, 151, 214, 228 and 283.

(3)  The following 3 steps must occur before a renewal of a licence comes into force:

(a)   provisional renewal of the licence;

(b)  proper acceptance of the renewal;

(c)   registration of the renewal.

Note: See sections 89, 155, 233 and 287.

(4)  If a licence is provisionally renewed, the holder must do the following to properly accept the renewal:

(a)  give the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal;

(b)  lodge any security that the Joint Authority has required;

(c)  pay the fees that are payable under the Fees Act.

Note: See sections 114, 173, 250 and 300.

Approval of form and manner of applications etc.

41.(1)   The Designated Authority for an offshore area may approve the form and the manner in which the following are to be made:

(a)   applications for licences over blocks in the offshore area;

(b)  applications for the renewal of licences over blocks in the offshore area.

(2)  The Designated Authority for an offshore area may determine guidelines for the maps to accompany applications for licences over blocks in the offshore area.

(3)  An approval under subsection (1) or a determination under subsection (2) is to be made in writing.


Rights to minerals recovered

42.(1) Any minerals recovered by a licence holder or special purpose consent holder from a block covered by the licence or consent become the property of the holder when they are recovered.

(2)  If the licence or consent authorises the exploration for and the recovery of minerals only of a particular kind, subsection (1) only applies to the recovery of minerals of that kind.

(3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to the recovery of minerals by a works licence holder.

(4)  The minerals recovered are not subject to the rights of any other person.

(5)  Subsection (4) does not apply to rights that the licence or consent holder transfers to the other person.

Effect of grant of licence or special purpose consent on native title

43.(1) The grant of a licence or special purpose consent under this Act does not extinguish native title in the licence or consent area.

(2)  While a licence or consent under this Act is in force over an area, native title in the area is subject to the rights conferred by the licence or consent.

Licence etc. does not authorise unnecessary interference with other activities in the licence area

44.  A person contravenes this section if:

(a)   the person carries out activities in an offshore area under a licence or special purpose consent granted under this Act; and

(b)  the person intentionally or recklessly carries out those activities in a way that interferes with:

(i)    navigation; or

(ii)    the exercise of native title rights and interests; or

(iii)   fishing; or

(iv)   the conservation of the resources of the sea or the seabed; or

(v)    any activities that someone else is lawfully carrying out; and

(c)   the interference is greater than is necessary for:

(i)  the reasonable exercise of the person’s rights under the licence or consent; or

(ii)  the performance of the person’s duties under the licence or consent.

Note 1: The person referred to here might be the licence or consent holder or might be an associated person.

Note 2: See section 4D of the Crimes Act 1914.

Penalty: 100 penalty units.


PART 2.2—EXPLORATION LICENCES

Division 1General

Exploration licences

45.(1) This Part provides for the grant of exploration licences over blocks in an offshore area.

(2)  An exploration licence may be granted over a standard block (see Division 2) or over a tender block (see Division 3).

Note: A tender block is a block that has been declared available for tender. A standard block is any block that is not a reserved block (see sections 19 and 20).

Activities authorised by an exploration licence

46.(1) Subject to subsection (2), an exploration licence holder may:

(a)  explore for minerals in the licence area; and

(b)  take samples of minerals in the licence area.

Note 1: Under subsection 23(1) the concept of “exploration” extends to activities that are directly related to exploration.

Note 2: Under subsection 24(1) the concept of “recovery” extends to activities that are directly related to the recovery of minerals.

(2)  If the licence is expressed to restrict the kind of minerals covered by the licence, the holder is not permitted to explore for, or to take samples of, minerals not covered by the licence.

(3)  A restriction on the kind of minerals covered by the licence may be inclusive (for example, only minerals A, B and C) or exclusive (for example, all minerals except A, B and C).

(4)  For the purposes of subsection (2), the holder does not take samples of an excluded mineral if, in the course of exploring for, or taking samples of, another mineral, the holder recovers some excluded mineral.

Joint Authority may cancel or not renew exploration licence without compensation

47.  No compensation is payable because of the cancellation or non-renewal of an exploration licence by the Joint Authority.

Note 1: The Joint Authority may cancel the licence under section 130.

Note 2: The Joint Authority may refuse under section 108 or 109 to renew the licence.

Licence rights may be suspended

48.(1) The Joint Authority must suspend particular rights conferred by an exploration licence if the Joint Authority is satisfied that it is necessary in the national interest to do so.

(2)  The Joint Authority may suspend rights under subsection (1) for a specified period or for an indefinite period.


(3)  The Joint Authority may end a suspension at any time.

(4)  A suspension or the ending of a suspension must be in writing.

(5)  If the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends rights conferred by an exploration licence; or

(b)  ends a suspension;

the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of the suspension or the ending of the suspension.

Note: See section 122 for the effect of the suspension on the obligations associated with the licence.

(6)  A suspension takes effect when:

(a)   the holder has been given notice of the suspension under subsection (5); and

(b)  the suspension has been registered under section 337.

Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

49.(1) If:

(a)   the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 48; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)   the Commonwealth and the person agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the agreed amount of compensation.

(2)  If:

(a)  the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 48; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)  the Commonwealth and the person do not agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition; and

(d)  the person brings an action for compensation against the Commonwealth in the High Court or an appropriate Supreme Court;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the amount of compensation (if any) that is determined by the court.

(3)  In this section:

“acquisition of property” means an acquisition of property within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution;

“appropriate Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of, or having jurisdiction in, the State or Territory for which the Joint Authority is established.


Division 2Application for and grant of exploration licence over
standard blocks

Application for exploration licence over standard block

50.(1) A person may apply to the Joint Authority for an exploration licence over a standard block if:

(a)   the block is vacant; and

(b)  the block is not excluded.

Note: For “excluded blocks” see section 51.

(2)  A standard block is vacant if no exploration, retention or mining licence is in force over the block.

(3)  A person may apply for an exploration licence over a group of standard blocks if:

(a)  the group forms a discrete area; and

(b)  there are not more than 500 blocks in the group.

Note: The Designated Authority may, in certain circumstances, allow an application to be made for an exploration licence covering up to 3 discrete areas (see section 53).

Which blocks are excluded?

51.(1) A block is excluded if:

(a)  an exploration licence over the block has been surrendered or cancelled; and

(b)  a period of 30 days after the day on which the licence was surrendered or cancelled has not ended.

(2)  A block is excluded for a particular applicant if:

(a)  the applicant previously applied for an exploration licence over the block; and

(b)  the application was refused; and

(c)  a period of 6 months after the day on which the previous application was refused has not ended.

(3)  A block is excluded for a particular applicant if:

(a)  the applicant was previously the holder of an exploration, retention or mining licence over the block; and

(b)  the previous licence was surrendered or cancelled; and

(c)  a period of 6 months after the day on which the previous licence was surrendered or cancelled has not ended.

(4)  A block is excluded for a particular applicant if:

(a)   the applicant was previously the holder of an exploration, retention or mining licence over the block; and

(b)  the holder was:


(i)    required by the licence conditions; or

(ii)    given a compliance direction;

to provide the Designated Authority with information; and

(c)   the holder provided the information; and

(d)  the holder surrendered the licence; and

(e)   a period of 6 months from the day on which the holder provided the information has not ended.

Designated Authority may determine that excluded block is available

52.(1) A person who wants to apply for an exploration licence over a block that is excluded may apply to the Designated Authority for a determination under subsection (2).

(2)  The Designated Authority may determine that the person may apply for the licence over the block despite section 51.

(3)  The determination is to be made in writing.

(4)  The Designated Authority may make the determination only with the approval of the Joint Authority.

(5)  Subsection (4) does not apply to a block in an external territory offshore area.

Note: The responsible Commonwealth Minister is both the Designated Authority (see subsection 29(3)) and the Joint Authority (see subsection 32(3)) for an external territory offshore area.

Designated Authority may allow application for more than one discrete area

53.(1) If:

(a)  a person (the “first applicant”) applies for an exploration licence; and

(b)  another person (the “second applicant”) subsequently applies for an exploration licence for a group of blocks that includes a block covered by the application made by the first applicant; and

(c)   an exploration licence is then granted to the first applicant; and

(d)  as a result of the grant, the blocks for which the second applicant can be granted an exploration licence no longer form a discrete area;

the second applicant may apply to the Designated Authority for approval for the application to proceed even though the blocks it covers no longer form a discrete area.

Note: See also section 59.

(2)  Subject to subsections (3) and (4), the Designated Authority may approve the application proceeding even though the blocks that the application covers do not form a discrete area.


(3)  The Designated Authority may give an approval under subsection (2) only if the blocks covered by the application form not more than 3 discrete areas.

(4)  The Designated Authority may give an approval under subsection (1) only with the approval of the Joint Authority.

(5)  Subsection (4) does not apply to a block in an external territory offshore area.

Note: The responsible Commonwealth Minister is both the Designated Authority (see subsection 29(3)) and the Joint Authority (see subsection 32(3)) for an external territory offshore area.

How to apply

54.(1) The application must:

(a)  be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)  specify the blocks for which the application is made; and

(d)  include details of:

(i)  the activities that the applicant intends to carry out on the block or blocks covered by the application; and

(ii)  the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend on those activities; and

(iii)  the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s employees who are likely to be involved in activities authorised by the licence; and

(iv)    the technical advice available to the applicant; and

(v)   the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(vi)  if the licence is to be held by more than one person—the share of the licence that each prospective holder will hold; and

(e)  be accompanied by maps that:

(i)    relate to the blocks; and

(ii)  comply with guidelines issued by the Designated Authority under subsection 41(2); and

(f)   specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note 1: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

Note 2: Paragraph (c): the Designated Authority may, after consulting the applicant, vary the blocks applied for (see section 59).

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Effect of inclusion of unavailable block in application

55.  If:


(a)   a person applies for a licence over a group of standard blocks; and

(b)  because of section 18, 50 or 51:

(i)  an exploration licence cannot be granted over one or more of the blocks in the group; or

(ii)  the Joint Authority cannot grant the licence over one or more of the blocks in the group;

the Designated Authority and the Joint Authority may still deal with the application to the extent to which the application covers blocks:

(c)   for which an exploration licence can be granted; or

(d)  for which the Joint Authority does have power to grant the licence applied for.

Note 1: An exploration licence cannot be granted over a block that is not vacant or is excluded (see sections 50 and 51) or over a reserved block (see section 18).

Note 2: The Joint Authority for a State may grant a licence only over blocks in that State’s Commonwealth-State offshore area.

Payment of fee

56.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Application must be advertised

57.(1) The applicant must advertise the application in a newspaper circulating throughout the State or external territory concerned.

(2)  The advertisement must contain:

(a)   the applicant’s name and address; and

(b)  a map and description of the blocks applied for that are sufficient for the blocks to be identified; and

(c)   the address of the Designated Authority; and

(d)  a statement:

(i)  that the applicant has applied for an exploration licence over the blocks described in the notice; and

(ii)   that invites comment from the public on the application; and

(iii)   that requests that comments be sent to the applicant and the Designated Authority within 30 days after the day on which the advertisement is published.

(3)  The advertisement must be published as soon as possible after the applicant applies for an exploration licence.


(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the advertisement must be published within 14 days after the day on which the applicant lodges the application.

(5)  If:

(a)   the applicant applies to the Designated Authority within the 14 day period referred to in subsection (4) for an extension of the period; and

(b)  the Designated Authority extends the period;

the advertisement must be published within the period as extended by the Designated Authority.

How multiple applications are dealt with

58.(1) Subject to subsection (2), if a block is covered by 2 or more applications for an exploration or mining licence, the Designated Authority must deal with the applications in the order in which they are made.

Note: See also section 203.

(2)  If:

(a)  the applications are lodged within a particular time of each other; and

(b)  the time is less than the time prescribed by the regulations;

the Designated Authority must determine the order in which the applications are to be dealt with by drawing lots in the way prescribed by the regulations.

Discussions about blocks applied for

59.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant to discuss with the Designated Authority the blocks covered by the application.

(2)  The request under subsection (1) must be:

(a)  made in writing; and

(b)  given to the applicant.

(3)  The Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area must ask the applicant to participate in discussions under subsection (1) if the responsible Commonwealth Minister asks the Designated Authority to do so.

(4)  If, after discussions, the Designated Authority and the applicant agree on the blocks to be covered by the application, the applicant is taken to have applied for an exploration licence over the blocks agreed on.

(5)  The Designated Authority must give the applicant written confirmation of the agreement as soon as possible after the agreement is reached.

(6)  The Designated Authority may include in the written confirmation a direction that the applicant must advertise the revised application under section 60.

(7)  If the Designated Authority and the applicant do not agree on the blocks to be covered by the application:


(a)   the Joint Authority may make a written determination specifying the blocks to be covered by the application; and

(b)  the applicant is taken to have applied for an exploration licence over the blocks specified in the determination.

(8)  The Designated Authority may include in the written determination a direction that the applicant must advertise the revised application under section 60.

(9)  If the Joint Authority makes a determination under subsection (7), the Designated Authority must give a copy of the determination to the applicant as soon as possible after the determination is made.

Advertising revised application

60.(1) If:

(a)   the application has been revised under section 59; and

(b)  the applicant has been given a direction under subsection 59(6) or (8);

the applicant must advertise the revised application in a newspaper circulating throughout the State or external territory concerned.

(2)  The advertisement must contain:

(a)  the applicant’s name and address; and

(b)  a map and description of the blocks covered by the revised application that are sufficient for the blocks to be identified; and

(c)  the address of the Designated Authority; and

(d)  a statement:

(i)  that the applicant has applied for an exploration licence over the blocks described in the notice; and

(ii)   that invites comment from the public on the application; and

(iii)  that requests that comments be sent to the applicant and the Designated Authority within 30 days after the day on which the advertisement is published.

(3)  The advertisement must be published:

(a)  if the Designated Authority and the applicant agree on the blocks applied for under subsection 59(4)—as soon as possible after the applicant is given written confirmation of the agreement under subsection 59(5); or

(b)  if the Joint Authority makes a determination of the blocks applied for under subsection 59(7)—as soon as possible after the applicant is given a copy of the determination under subsection 59(9).

(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the advertisement must be published within 14 days after the applicant is given the confirmation or copy.


(5)  If:

(a)  the applicant applies to the Designated Authority within the 14 day period referred to in subsection (4) for an extension of the period; and

(b)  the Designated Authority extends the period;

the advertisement must be published within the period as extended by the Designated Authority.

Request for further information

61.(1)   The Designated Authority may ask the applicant for further information about the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)   specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)   in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

62.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 54 to 61, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 54 to 61, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant exploration licence

63.  If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 62, the Joint Authority may:

(a)  provisionally grant an exploration licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 70 for “proper acceptance”).


External territory offshore area—how application for exploration licence dealt with

64.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 50 to 61, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) must refuse the application.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 50 to 61, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)   provisionally grant an exploration licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 70 for “proper acceptance”).

Matters to be specified in the licence

65.  The licence must specify:

(a)   the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the term of the licence; and

(c)   the licence conditions.

Note: For the term of a licence see section 88.

Applicant must be notified

66.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 63 or 64.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally grants an exploration licence:

(a)   the Designated Authority must give the licence to the provisional holder; and

(b)  the notice under subsection (1) must contain the following information:

(i)  notification of any determination under section 399 that the provisional holder must lodge a security;

(ii)  notification that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(A)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(B)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(C)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.


Amendment of conditions

67.(1) If the provisional holder is dissatisfied with a licence condition, the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given the licence under section 66; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

68.(1) If the provisional holder:

(a)   is notified of a security requirement; and

(b)  is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 66; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

69.(1) If the provisional holder makes a request under section 67 or 68, the provisional holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 66.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension; and

(b)  give the provisional holder a written notice informing the applicant of the period of the extension.


Acceptance of grant of exploration licence for standard block

70.(1) The provisional grant of the exploration licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the provisional holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.

(2)  The provisional grant of the exploration licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if the provisional holder:

(a)   has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 69; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)    gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)  pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on grant

71.  If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, it is subject to:

(a)   the conditions specified in the licence given to the applicant under section 65; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 67—those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional grant of exploration licence

72.  If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 70, the provisional grant lapses.

Division 3Application for and grant of exploration licence over tender block

Matters to be determined before applications for exploration licence over tender blocks invited

73.  If the Joint Authority proposes to invite applications for the grant of an exploration licence over reserved blocks, the Joint Authority must, before inviting the applications, determine:


(a)   the procedure and criteria that the Joint Authority will adopt to allocate the licence; and

(b)  the amount of security that will be required for the licence under section 399; and

(c)   the licence conditions.

Joint Authority may invite applications for exploration licence over tender blocks

74.(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Joint Authority may invite applications for the grant of an exploration licence over reserved blocks.

(2)  Applications may be invited for a licence covering a group of reserved blocks only if the group forms a discrete area.

(3)  The Joint Authority is to invite applications by publishing a tender block licence notice for the licence in the Gazette.

Tender block licence notice—exploration licence

75.(1)   A tender block licence notice for an exploration licence must:

(a)  specify the blocks to be covered by the licence; and

(b)  specify the period within which applications may be made; and

(c)  specify the procedure and criteria that the Joint Authority will adopt to allocate the licence; and

(d)  specify the amount of security that the successful applicant will be required to lodge; and

(e)  include a statement to the effect that information about:

(i)    the security that the successful applicant will be required to lodge; and

(ii)   the licence conditions;

may be obtained from the Designated Authority.

(2)  The tender block notice may specify not more than 500 blocks for the exploration licence.

Application for exploration licence over tender blocks

76.  If a tender block licence notice has been published inviting applications for an exploration licence, a person may apply for the licence.

How to apply

77.(1) Thse application must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   be made before the end of the period specified in the tender block licence notice; and


(d)  include details of:

(i)  the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s employees who are likely to be involved in activities authorised by the licence; and

(ii)     the technical advice available to the applicant; and

(iii)    the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(iv)  if the licence is to be held by more than one person—the share of the licence that each prospective holder will hold; and

(e)  specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  If the Joint Authority has specified in the tender block licence notice that it will select the successful applicant on the basis of exploration proposals submitted for the blocks to be covered by the licence, the application must include details of the applicant’s exploration proposals for the blocks.

(3)  If the Joint Authority has specified in the tender block licence notice that it will select the successful applicant on the basis of the amounts of money offered for the licence, the application must state the amount offered by the applicant for the licence.

(4)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(5)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Payment of fee

78.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Request for further information

79.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant for further information about the application.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.


(3)  Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)  in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

80.(1) This section applies if the tender block notice relates to blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If an applicant does what is required by sections 77 to 79, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If an applicant does not do what is required by sections 77 to 79, the Designated Authority:

(a)   must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant tender block exploration licence

81.(1) If the Designated Authority refers applications to the Joint Authority under section 80, the Joint Authority may provisionally grant an exploration licence to one of the applicants.

Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 84 for “proper acceptance”).

(2)  The Joint Authority may provisionally grant a licence under subsection (1) even if only one application is referred to the Joint Authority by the Designated Authority.

(3)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (1), the Joint Authority must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 74.

External territory offshore area—how applications dealt with

82.(1) This section applies if the tender block licence notice relates to blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2)  The responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area):

(a)   must refuse an application if the applicant does not do what is required by sections 77 to 79; and

(b)  may provisionally grant an exploration licence to an applicant whose application has not been refused under paragraph (a).

Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 84 for “proper acceptance”).


(3)  The responsible Commonwealth Minister may provisionally grant a licence under subsection (2) even if there is only one application that is not refused under paragraph (2)(a).

(4)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (2), the responsible Commonwealth Minister must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 74.

Successful applicant must be notified

83.(1) If the Joint Authority provisionally grants an exploration licence under section 81, 82 or 87, the Designated Authority must give the provisional holder:

(a)  the licence; and

(b)  written notice that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)  pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Exploration Licence Fees Act; and

(iv)  if the tender is determined on the basis of the amounts of money offered for the licence—pays the Commonwealth the amount that the provisional holder offered for the licence under subsection 77(3).

(2) The licence must specify:

(a)  the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the term of the licence; and

(c)  the licence conditions.

Note: For the term of a licence see section 88.

Acceptance of grant of exploration licence over tender blocks

84.  The provisional grant of an exploration licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 83, the provisional holder:

(a)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399;and

(c)  pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Exploration Licence Fees Act; and

(d)  if the tender is determined on the basis of the amount of money offered for the licence—pays the Commonwealth the amount that the provisional holder offered for the licence under subsection 77(3).


Note: Under section 88, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on grant

85.  If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, the licence is subject to the conditions determined under section 73.

Lapse of provisional grant of exploration licence

86.  If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 85, the provisional grant lapses.

Provisional grant to next applicant if grant lapses

87.(1) If the provisional grant of the licence lapses under section 86, the Joint Authority may provisionally grant the licence to another of the applicants for the licence.

(2)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (1), the Joint Authority must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 74.

Division 4Duration of exploration licence

Initial term of exploration licence

88.(1) An exploration licence comes into force on:

(a)  the day on which the grant of the licence is registered; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the grant of the licence is registered is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

(2)  The initial term of an exploration licence ends 4 years after:

(a)  the day on which the licence is provisionally granted; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the licence is provisionally granted is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

Note: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 127).

Term of renewal of exploration licence

89.(1) A renewal of an exploration licence comes into force on:

(a)   the day on which the renewal is registered; or

(b)  the day on which the previous term of the licence expires;

whichever is the later.

Note: See Division 6 for renewal.

(2)  The term of a renewal of a licence ends 2 years after the day on which the previous term of the licence expires.

Note: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 127).


(3)  Ignore section 90 in working out the period of 2 years referred to in subsection (2).

(4)  An exploration licence is not to be renewed more than 3 times.

Effect of suspension of rights on term of exploration licence

90.(1) If the Joint Authority suspends rights conferred by an exploration licence for a specified period under section 48, the Joint Authority may extend the term of the licence.

(2)  An extension of a licence term under subsection (1):

(a)   must not be for a period that is longer than the period for which the licence rights were suspended; and

(b)  must be in writing.

(3)  If the Joint Authority extends the term of a licence under subsection (1), the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder:

(a)   that the licence has been extended; and

(b)  of the period of the extension.

Effect of application for renewal on term of exploration licence

91.  If:

(a)   an exploration licence holder applies to renew the licence under section 101; and

(b)  the current term of the licence expires; and

(c)   a renewal of the licence does not take effect immediately after the current term expires;

the licence remains in force after the current term expires until:

(d)  a renewal of the licence takes effect; or

(e)   a provisional renewal of the licence lapses; or

(f)   the application for renewal is withdrawn or refused.

Effect of application for retention licence or mining licence on term of exploration licence

92.  If:

(a)   an exploration licence holder applies for:

(i)    a retention licence (see section 137); or

(ii)    a mining licence (see section 198);

over the licence area, or part of the licence area, of the exploration licence; and

(b)  the current term of the exploration licence expires; and

(c)   a grant of the retention licence or mining licence does not take effect before the current term of the exploration licence expires;


the exploration licence remains in force until:

(d)  the grant of the retention licence or mining licence takes effect; or

(e)  a provisional grant of the retention licence or mining licence lapses; or

(f)   the application for the retention licence or mining licence is withdrawn or refused.

Effect of application for extension on term of licence

93. If:

(a)  an exploration licence holder applies for an extension of the licence under section 94 or 96; and

(b)  the holder has also applied to renew the licence under section 101; and

(c)  the extension application is not decided before the licence is due to expire;

then:

(d)  the renewal application lapses; and

(e)  the licence remains in force:

(i)    until:

(A)  if the Joint Authority extends the term of the licence under section 95 for a specified period—30 days after the day on which that period ends; or

(B)  if the Joint Authority refuses to extend the term of the licence under section 95—30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice of the refusal under section 98; or

(ii)   until a further application is made under section 101 to renew the licence;

whichever is the later.

Extension of licence—activities disrupted

94.(1) If:

(a)   an exploration licence authorises the licence holder to carry out an activity; and

(b)  circumstances beyond the control of the holder prevent the holder from carrying out the activity;

the holder may apply to the Joint Authority for an extension of the licence.

(2)  The application must be made:

(a)  within 30 days after the day on which the holder first became aware of the circumstances; and

(b)  before the licence expires.


(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Grant of licence extension—activities disrupted

95.(1) Subject to subsection (2), if an exploration licence holder applies for an extension under section 94, the Joint Authority:

(a)   must grant an extension of the licence if the Joint Authority is satisfied that:

(i)  the holder is unable to carry out the activities authorised by the licence; and

(ii)  the holder is unable to do so because of circumstances beyond the holder’s control; and

(iii)     the period during which the holder is unable to do so:

(A)  occurs while the licence is in force; and

(B)   does not occur during any excluded time; and

(b)  must refuse the application for extension if the Joint Authority is not satisfied of the matters referred to in paragraph (a).

(2)  The period for which the extension is granted must not be longer than the disruption period for the licence less any excluded time for the licence.

(3)  The extension may be granted subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  In this section:

“disruption period” for a licence means the period during which the licence holder is unable to carry out activities authorised by the licence because of circumstances beyond the holder’s control;

“excluded time” for a licence means any period during which the licence was in force because of section 90, 91, 92 or 93.

Note: Under section 90, the Designated Authority can extend the term of a licence if there has been a suspension of rights under section 48. Under section 91, the term of a licence is automatically extended if there is an application for the renewal of a licence undecided when the licence is due to expire. Under section 92, the term of a licence is automatically extended if the holder applies for a retention or mining licence over the licence area. Under section 93, the term of a licence is automatically extended if there is an application for an extension of the licence undecided when the licence is due to expire.

Extension of licence—other circumstances

96.(1) An exploration licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority for an extension of the licence if, under section 121, the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends a licence condition; or

(b)  exempts the holder from complying with a licence condition.

(2)  The application:

(a)   must be made not later than 30 days before the licence expires; and

(b)  must be lodged with the Designated Authority.


Grant of licence extension—other circumstances

97.(1) Subject to subsection (2), if an exploration licence holder applies for an extension under section 96, the Joint Authority:

(a)   may grant an extension of the licence; or

(b)  may refuse to grant an extension of the licence.

(2)  The extension must not be for a period that is longer than the period of the suspension or exemption.

(3)  The extension may be granted subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

Notification of decision

98.(1) If the Joint Authority grants an extension of an exploration licence under section 95 or 97, the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of:

(a)  the grant of extension; and

(b)  the period of the extension; and

(c)  if the extension is subject to conditions—the conditions.

(2)  If the Joint Authority refuses an application for a licence extension, the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of:

(a)  the refusal; and

(b)  the reasons for the refusal.

Division 5Voluntary surrender of part of exploration licence area

Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

99.(1) An exploration licence holder may surrender a block or some of the blocks covered by the licence if the remaining blocks in the licence area form a discrete area.

Note: See section 127 for the surrender of the whole licence.

(2)  A surrender under subsection (1) must:

(a)  be made in writing; and

(b)  identify the blocks surrendered; and

(c)  be given to the Designated Authority.

Note: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Voluntary surrender of blocks if up to 3 discrete areas remain

100.(1) If:

(a)  an exploration licence holder wants to surrender some of the blocks covered by the licence; and


(b)  the blocks remaining in the licence area after the proposed surrender would form not more than 3 discrete areas;

the holder may apply to the Designated Authority for approval of the proposed surrender.

(2)  The application:

(a)  must be in writing; and

(b)  must include a surrender proposal that identifies the blocks in the licence area that the holder proposes to surrender; and

(c)  may include any other information that the holder thinks is relevant; and

(d)  must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  Subject to subsection (6), if the Designated Authority agrees with the surrender proposal the Designated Authority may approve the surrender of the blocks specified in the proposal by giving the holder written notice of the approval.

Note: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

(4)  If the Designated Authority does not agree with the surrender proposal, the Designated Authority may ask the holder to discuss the proposal.

(5)  Subject to subsection (6), if the Designated Authority and the holder agree, after discussions, on the blocks to be surrendered the Designated Authority may approve the surrender of the blocks agreed on by giving the holder written confirmation of the agreement.

Note: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

(6)  The Designated Authority may give approval under subsection (3) or (5) only with the approval of the Joint Authority.

(7)  Subsection (6) does not apply to a block in an external territory offshore area.

Note: The responsible Commonwealth Minister is both the Designated Authority (see subsection 29(3)) and the Joint Authority (see subsection 32(3)) for an external territory offshore area.

(8)  If, after discussions, the Designated Authority and the holder do not agree on the surrender proposal, no blocks are surrendered.

Division 6Application for and grant of renewal of exploration licence

Application for renewal of exploration licence

101. An exploration licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority to renew the licence.

Note 1: Part of the licence area must be surrendered on each renewal (see section 104).

Note 2: At each renewal, the licence conditions are reviewed (see section 118).


When must an application to renew be made?

102.(1) Subject to subsection (2), the application must be made at least 30 days before the day on which the licence is to expire.

Note: If an application for extension of a licence is made, the expiry of the licence is postponed (see section 91).

(2)  The Designated Authority may accept an application that is made later than 30 days before the day on which the licence is to expire if:

(a)  the application is made before the day on which the licence expires; and

(b)  the Designated Authority believes that there are reasonable grounds for accepting the application.

How to apply for renewal

103.(1) The application must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   include details of:

(i)  the activities carried out by the applicant under the licence during its current term; and

(ii)  the amount of money spent by the applicant in relation to the blocks covered by the licence during its current term; and

(iii)   the activities that the applicant intends to carry out under the licence during the term applied for; and

(iv)  the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend on those activities during the term applied for; and

(d)  specify the blocks that the applicant nominates for surrender in accordance with section 104.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Mandatory reduction of licence area on renewal of exploration licence

104.(1) This section deals with the mandatory reduction of the licence area covered by an exploration licence when the licence is renewed.

(2)  Subject to paragraph (4)(b), on each surrender day of an exploration licence, the licence holder must surrender:

(a)   50% of the number of blocks in the licence area; or

(b)  if 50% of that number is a whole number and a fraction—the next higher whole number.


(3)  Subject to paragraph (4)(a), the blocks that remain in the licence area after a surrender under subsection (2) must form a discrete area.

(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the Designated Authority may:

(a)   give permission for the surrender of blocks in a licence area if the licence area remaining after the proposed surrender would consist of not more than 3 discrete areas; or

(b)  give permission for a licence area to be reduced by less than 50% if the Designated Authority considers that there are special circumstances present in relation to the renewal application.

(5)  The Designated Authority may give permission under subsection (4) only with the approval of the Joint Authority.

(6)  Subsection (5) does not apply to a block in an external territory offshore area.

Note: The responsible Commonwealth Minister is both the Designated Authority (see subsection 29(3)) and the Joint Authority (see subsection 32(3)) for an external territory offshore area.

Request for further information

105.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant to provide further information about the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)  in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Payment of fee

106.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

107.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.


(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 101 to 106, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 101 to 106, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of an exploration licence

108.(1) The Joint Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area must provisionally renew an exploration licence if:

(a)  the Designated Authority refers the renewal application to the Joint Authority under section 107; and

(b)  the applicant has complied with:

(i)  this Act; and

(ii)    the regulations; and

(iii)   the licence conditions.

Note 1: Under section 89, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 114 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 118, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

(2)  If subsection (1) does not require the Joint Authority to provisionally renew the licence, the Joint Authority may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  refuse to renew the licence.

External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

109.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 101 to 106, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) must refuse to renew the licence.

(3) If:

(a)   the applicant does what is required by sections 101 to 106; and

(b)  the applicant has complied with:

(i)      this Act; and

(ii)     the regulations; and


(iii)    the licence conditions.

the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) must provisionally renew the exploration licence.

Note 1: Under section 89, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 114 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 118, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

(4)  If:

(a)  subsection (2) does not require the responsible Commonwealth Minister to refuse to renew the licence; and

(b)  subsection (3) does not require the responsible Commonwealth Minister to provisionally renew the licence;

the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(c)  provisionally renew the licence; or

(d)  refuse to renew the licence.

Note: Under section 89, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 114 for “proper acceptance”).

Applicant must be notified

110.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 108 or 109.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally renews the exploration licence under section 108 or 109, the notice must contain the following information:

(a)  notification of the conditions of the renewed licence;

(b)  notification of any determination under section 399 that the applicant must lodge a security or a further security;

(c)  notification that the provisional renewal will lapse unless the applicant, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.

Note: Section 118 provides for renewals to be granted subject to conditions.

Amendment of conditions

111.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)   has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 108 or 109; and

(b)  is notified of the licence conditions; and


(c)  is dissatisfied with a condition;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 110; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

112.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)  has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 108 or 109; and

(b)  is notified of a security requirement; and

(c)  is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 110; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

113.(1) If the licence holder makes a request under section 111 or 112, the holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 110.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)  determine the period of the extension in writing; and

(b)  give the holder a written notice informing the holder of the period of the extension.


Acceptance of renewal of exploration licence

114.(1) The provisional renewal of an exploration licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 89, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

(2)  The provisional renewal of an exploration licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if the holder:

(a)   has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 113; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Exploration Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 89, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

115.  If the provisional renewal is properly accepted, the renewed licence is subject to:

(a)  the conditions specified in the notice given to the licence holder under section 110; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 111—those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional renewal of exploration licence

116.  If the provisional renewal of an exploration licence is not properly accepted under section 114, the provisional renewal lapses.

Division 7Obligations associated with exploration licence

General

117.(1) The sources of obligations associated with an exploration licence are:

(a)  the licence conditions; and


(b)  obligations arising from compliance directions given by the Designated Authority; and

(c)  obligations imposed by this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraph (a) see sections 118 to 120. For paragraph (b) see sections 387 and 392. For paragraph (c) see sections 123 to 125 and section 372.

(2)  If an exploration licence has 2 or more holders, all the holders are jointly and severally bound by the obligations that attach to the licence.

Conditions of exploration licence

118.(1) The Joint Authority may grant or renew an exploration licence subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(2)  If the Joint Authority grants or renews an exploration licence subject to conditions, the conditions must be specified in the licence.

(3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Joint Authority may attach the following kinds of conditions to the grant or renewal of an exploration licence:

(a)  a condition requiring the licence holder to take out insurance as required by the Designated Authority;

(b)  a condition requiring the holder to carry out certain work in or in relation to the licence area during the term of the licence, and to comply with directions concerning that work given under section 387;

(c)  a condition requiring the holder to spend a specified amount of money in carrying out the work referred to in paragraph (b), and to comply with directions concerning that expenditure given under section 387;

(d)  a condition requiring the holder to lodge a security with the Designated Authority;

(e)  a condition requiring the holder to keep specified information;

(f)   a condition requiring the holder to give the Designated Authority, on request, specified information;

(g)  a condition requiring the holder to take steps to protect the environment of the licence area, including conditions relating to:

(i)    protecting wildlife; or

(ii)  minimising the effect on the environment of the licence area and the area surrounding the licence area of activities carried out in the licence area;

(h)  a condition requiring the holder to repair any damage to the environment caused by activities in the licence area;

(i)  a condition requiring the holder to pay a specified penalty to the Commonwealth if the holder does not comply with a licence condition.


(4)  A condition under paragraph (3)(d) must specify:

(a)   the amount of the security required; and

(b)  the kind of security required; and

(c)   the manner and form in which the security is to be lodged.

(5)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(d), a condition under that paragraph may require the lodgment of a security in the form of a guarantee and if a guarantee is required the condition may specify:

(a)   the kind of person who is to give the guarantee; and

(b)  the terms of the guarantee.

No conditions requiring payment of money

119. Except for a condition requiring the payment of a penalty or lodgment of security, a licence condition must not require the payment of money to:

(a)   the Designated Authority; or

(b)  the Joint Authority; or

(c)   the Commonwealth.

Variation of conditions

120.(1) If:

(a)   an exploration licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to vary a licence condition; or

(b)  an exploration licence continues in force because of section 93; or

(c)   an extension of an exploration licence is granted under section 95; or

(d)  part of the licence area of an exploration licence is surrendered under section 99 or 100;

the Joint Authority may vary a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)   a direction under section 387; or

(b)  an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to an exploration licence holder, the Joint Authority may vary a licence condition to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may vary a licence condition subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority varies a licence condition, the Designated Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that:

(a)   informs the holder of the variation; and

(b)  specifies the conditions which have been varied; and


(c)  specifies any conditions to which the variation is subject.

Exemption from or suspension of conditions

121.(1) If:

(a)   an exploration licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to:

(i)    suspend a licence condition; or

(ii)   exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition; or

(b)  an exploration licence continues in force because of section 93; or

(c)   an extension of an exploration licence is granted under section 95; or

(d)  part of the licence area of an exploration licence is surrendered under section 99 or 100;

the Joint Authority may:

(e)   suspend a licence condition; or

(f)   exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)   a direction under section 387; or

(b)  an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to an exploration licence holder, the Joint Authority may suspend a licence condition, or exempt the holder from compliance with a licence condition, to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may:

(a)  suspend a licence condition; or

(b)  exempt the licence holder from complying with a licence condition;

subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends a licence condition; or

(b)  exempts the licence holder from complying with a licence condition;

the Designated Authority must give the holder a written notice that:

(c)   informs the holder of the exemption or suspension; and

(d)  specifies the conditions which have been suspended or affected by the exemption; and

(e)   specifies any conditions to which the suspension or exemption is subject.

Note: A suspension or exemption of a condition cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 337).

Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

122. If:

(a)  the Joint Authority suspends particular rights conferred by an exploration licence under section 48; and


(b)  a licence condition is affected by the suspension;

the licence condition is suspended for the period of the suspension of the rights.

Work practices

123.  If a person who is:

(a)  an exploration licence holder; or

(b)  an associate of the holder;

carries out activities in the licence area that are authorised by the licence, the person must take all reasonable steps:

(c)  to ensure that the activities are carried out at a standard that is accepted as reasonable and proper in the mining industry; and

(d)  to protect the health, safety and welfare of people engaged in the activities in and about the licence area; and

(e)  to maintain in good repair all structures and equipment brought into the licence area by the person; and

(f)   to remove from the licence area any structure, equipment or other property that:

(i)    belongs to the person, or is under the person’s control; and

(ii)  is not being used, or is not going to be used, in connection with the activities.

Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units.

Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

124.  An exploration licence holder must:

(a)   keep whatever records, cores and samples; and

(b)  give whatever records, cores and samples to the Designated Authority for inspection; and

(c)  make whatever returns;

are necessary to comply with:

(d)  the regulations; or

(e)   the licence conditions; or

(f)   a direction given by the Designated Authority under section 387.

Note: Under section 387 the Designated Authority may direct a person to keep records and cores, to collect and retain samples, and to make returns.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

Licence holder must assist inspectors

125.  An exploration licence holder must provide an inspector with reasonable facilities and assistance so that the inspector is able to carry out compliance inspections.

Note: See sections 377 to 384 for compliance inspections.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.


Division 8Expiry of exploration licence

General

126.  An exploration licence expires if:

(a)  the term of the licence ends without the licence being renewed; or

(b)  the licence holder surrenders the licence; or

(c)  a retention licence is granted over the blocks in the licence area of the exploration licence; or

(d)  a mining licence is granted over the blocks in the licence area of the exploration licence; or

(e)  the licence is cancelled.

Note: For paragraph (a) see Division 6. For paragraph (b) see section 127. For paragraph (c) see section 128. For paragraph (d) see section 129. For paragraph (e) see section 130.

Voluntary surrender of exploration licence

127.  An exploration licence holder may surrender the licence.

Note 1: See Division 5 for voluntary surrender of part of a licence area.

Note 2: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Automatic expiry of exploration licence when retention licence takes effect

128.  If:

(a)  an exploration licence is in force under this Act; and

(b)  the Joint Authority provisionally grants a retention licence over all or some of the blocks in the exploration licence area; and

(c)  the provisional grant of the retention licence is properly accepted; and

(d)  the retention licence comes into force;

the exploration licence expires in relation to the blocks covered by the retention licence.

Automatic expiry of exploration licence when mining licence takes effect

129.  If:

(a)   an exploration licence is in force under this Act; and

(b)  the Joint Authority provisionally grants a mining licence over all or some of the blocks in the exploration licence area; and

(c)   the provisional grant of the mining licence is properly accepted; and

(d)  the mining licence comes into force;

the exploration licence expires in relation to the blocks covered by the mining licence.


Cancellation of exploration licence

130.(1) Subject to subsection (5), the Joint Authority may cancel an exploration licence if the licence holder:

(a)   breaches a licence condition; or

(b)  contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations; or

(c)   breaches a condition attached to an approval under subsection 365(2); or

(d)  fails to pay user charge that is payable for the licence under the Exploration Licence User Charge Act.

(2)  If the Joint Authority proposes to cancel a licence under subsection (1), the Designated Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of the proposed cancellation.

(3)  The notice must:

(a)   specify the reason for the proposed cancellation; and

(b)  invite the holder to make submissions in relation to the proposed cancellation; and

(c)   specify the day by which submissions should be given to the Joint Authority; and

(d)  specify an address where submissions are to be lodged.

(4)  The day specified under paragraph (3)(c) must be not less than 60 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(5)  The Joint Authority may cancel the licence only if:

(a)  the holder has been given a notice under subsection (2); and

(b)  the Joint Authority has considered:

(i)    any submission made by the holder; and

(ii)  any steps taken by the holder to remedy the circumstances that led to the proposal to cancel the licence and to prevent those circumstances from happening again; and

(c)  the Joint Authority is satisfied that no special circumstances exist that justify the licence not being cancelled.

Obligations of former exploration licence holders and former associates

131.(1) Subject to subsection (4), if:

(a)   a person was:

(i)      an exploration licence holder; or

(ii)     an associate of an exploration licence holder; and

(b)  the licence:

(i)    expires; or

(ii)      is cancelled; or

(iii)     is surrendered; and


(c)  an obligation associated with the licence arising out of:

(i)    a licence condition; or

(ii)    a direction given under section 387; or

(iii)     this Act or the regulations;

has not been discharged; and

(d)  the person was bound by that obligation when the person was the licence holder or an associate;

the person remains bound by the obligation until the obligation is discharged.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not continue an obligation to carry out exploration or recovery activities.

(3)  Subsection (1) continues an obligation that a person had to carry out exploration or recovery activities in a particular manner if the person carries them out.

(4)  The Joint Authority may determine that the person is not subject to:

(a)   a particular obligation under this section; or

(b)  all the person’s remaining obligations under this section.

(5)  A determination under subsection (4) is to be in writing.


PART 2.3—RETENTION LICENCES

Division 1General

Retention licences

132.      This Part provides for the grant of retention licences over blocks in an offshore area.

Note: A retention licence is designed to allow an exploration licence holder to retain rights over an area if:

•  the holder has identified and evaluated a significant mineral deposit in the exploration licence area; and

•  mining the deposit is not commercially viable in the short term for some reason (for example, the political situation, the prevailing situation in the commodity market for particular minerals, the need to arrange finance or build up capital reserves, the need to develop new technologies or the impending development of new technologies); and

•  there is a reasonable prospect of development of the deposit in the longer term.

See section 145 for the grounds on which a retention licence may be granted.

Activities authorised by a retention licence

133.(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a retention licence holder may:

(a)   explore for minerals in the licence area; and

(b)  recover minerals in the licence area.

Note 1: The retention licence may specify a restricted range of activities that are the only ones authorised by the licence (see subsection 146(3)).

Note 2: Under subsection 23(1) the concept of “exploration” extends to activities that are directly related to exploration.

Note 3: Under subsection 24(1) the concept of “recovery” extends to activities that are directly related to the recovery of minerals.

(2)  A retention licence does not authorise the recovery of minerals as part of a commercial mining operation.

(3)  If the licence is expressed to restrict the kind of minerals covered by the licence, the holder is not permitted to explore for, or to recover, minerals not covered by the licence.

(4)  A restriction on the kind of minerals covered by the licence may be inclusive (for example, only minerals A, B and C) or exclusive (for example, all minerals except A, B and C).

(5)  For the purposes of subsection (3), the holder does not recover an excluded mineral if, in the course of exploring for, or recovering, another mineral, the holder recovers some excluded mineral.

Joint Authority may cancel or not renew retention licence without compensation

134. No compensation is payable because of the cancellation or non-renewal of a retention licence by the Joint Authority.


Note 1: The Joint Authority may cancel the licence under section 189 or 190.

Note 2: The Joint Authority may refuse under section 165 or 166 to renew the licence.

Licence rights may be suspended

135.(1) The Joint Authority must suspend particular rights conferred by a retention licence if the Joint Authority is satisfied that it is necessary in the national interest to do so.

(2)  The Joint Authority may suspend rights under subsection (1) for a specified period or for an indefinite period.

(3)  The Joint Authority may end a suspension at any time.

(4)  A suspension or the ending of a suspension must be in writing.

(5)  If the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends rights conferred by a retention licence; or

(b)  ends a suspension;

the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of the suspension or the ending of a suspension.

Note: See section 181 for the effect of the suspension on the obligations associated with the licence.

(6)  A suspension takes effect when:

(a)   the holder has been given notice of the suspension under subsection (5); and

(b)  the suspension has been registered under section 337.

Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

136.(1) If:

(a)  the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 135; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)  the Commonwealth and the person agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the agreed amount of compensation.

(2)  If:

(a)  the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 135; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)  the Commonwealth and the person do not agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition; and

(d)  the person brings an action for compensation against the Commonwealth in the High Court or an appropriate Supreme Court;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the amount of compensation (if any) that is determined by the court.


(3)  In this section:

“acquisition of property” means an acquisition of property within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution;

“appropriate Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of, or having jurisdiction in, the State or Territory for which the Joint Authority is established.

Division 2Application for and grant of retention licence

Application for retention licence

137.(1) An exploration licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority for a retention licence over blocks within the exploration licence area.

(2)  A person may apply for a retention licence over a group of blocks only if:

(a)   the group forms a discrete area; and

(b)  there are not more than 20 blocks in the group.

(3)  The exploration licence holder may apply for 2 or more retention licences over different parts of the exploration licence area.

How to apply

138.(1) The application must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)   be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   specify the blocks for which the application is made; and

(d)   include details of:

(i)  the reasons why the applicant is applying for a retention licence rather than a mining licence; and

(ii)  the mineral deposit that the applicant has identified and evaluated and that the applicant believes is commercially viable in the longer term; and

(iii)  the applicant’s assessment of the present and potential commercial viability of the mineral deposit; and

(iv)  the overall work program that the applicant has already carried out under the exploration licence on the blocks covered by the application; and

(v)  the amount of money that the applicant has already spent under the exploration licence on and in connection with the blocks covered by the application; and

(vi)  the activities that the applicant intends to carry out on the blocks covered by the application; and

(vii)   the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend on and in connection with those activities; and


(viii)   the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s employees who are likely to be involved in activities authorised by the licence; and

(ix)    the technical advice available to the applicant; and

(x)     the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(e)  be accompanied by maps that:

(i)    relate to the blocks; and

(ii)  comply with guidelines issued by the Designated Authority under subsection 41(2); and

(f)  specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The mineral deposit details given under subparagraph (1)(d)(ii) must include:

(a)   a full description of the mineral deposit; and

(b)  both factual information about the deposit and the applicant’s interpretation of the factual information.

(3)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(4)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Payment of fee

139.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Application must be advertised

140.(1) The applicant must advertise the application in a newspaper circulating throughout the State or external territory concerned.

(2)  The advertisement must contain:

(a)   the applicant’s name and address; and

(b)  a map and description of the blocks applied for that are sufficient for the blocks to be identified; and

(c)   the address of the Designated Authority; and

(d)  a statement:

(i)  that the applicant has applied for a retention licence for the blocks described in the notice; and


(ii)    that invites comment from the public on the application; and

(iii)   that requests that comments be sent to the applicant and the Designated Authority within 30 days after the day on which the advertisement is published.

(3)  The advertisement must be published as soon as possible after the applicant applies for a retention licence.

(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the advertisement must be published within 14 days after the day on which the applicant lodges the application.

(5)  If:

(a)   the applicant applies to the Designated Authority within the 14 day period referred to in subsection (4) for an extension of the period; and

(b)  the Designated Authority extends the period;

the advertisement must be published within the period as extended by the Designated Authority.

Request for further information

141.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant for further information about the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)   specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)  in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

142.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 138 to 141, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 138 to 141, the Designated Authority:

(a)   must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).


Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant retention licence

143.  If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 142, the Joint Authority may:

(a)   subject to section 145, provisionally grant a retention licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 154, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 151 for “proper acceptance”).

External territory offshore area—how application for retention licence dealt with

144.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 137 to 141, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) must refuse the application.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 137 to 141, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) may:

(a)   subject to section 145, provisionally grant a retention licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 154, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 151 for “proper acceptance”).

Grounds for granting retention licence

145.(1) The Joint Authority may provisionally grant the retention licence only if it is satisfied that:

(a)  the exploration licence holder has identified and evaluated a significant mineral deposit in the exploration licence area; and

(b)  there are reasonable grounds for the holder not applying immediately for a mining licence.

(2)  Without limiting subsection (1), reasonable grounds for not applying immediately for a mining licence include the following:

(a)  the need to obtain government approvals (for example, relating to environmental protection) before mining activities can commence;

(b)  the need to carry out further exploration or evaluation in order to establish the commercial viability of a mineral deposit found in the licence area;


(c)   the need to develop technologies before mining activities can commence;

(d)  the need to arrange finance, or to secure additional capital reserves, before mining activities can commence;

(e)   the existence of economic considerations (for example, the prevailing condition of the commodity market for the minerals concerned) that effectively preclude mining activities in the immediate future;

(f)   the existence of political considerations that effectively preclude mining activities in the immediate future.

Matters to be specified in the licence

146.(1) The licence must specify:

(a)   the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the term of the licence; and

(c)   the licence conditions.

(2)  The term specified under paragraph (1)(b) is not to exceed 5 years.

(3)  The licence may specify the activities that may be carried out under the licence.

(4)  If the licence includes a specification under subsection (3), the licence authorises only the specified activities.

Applicant must be notified

147.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 143 or 144.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally grants a retention licence:

(a)   the Designated Authority must give the licence to the provisional holder; and

(b)  the notice under subsection (1) must contain the following information:

(i)  notification of any determination under section 399 that the provisional holder must lodge a security;

(ii)  notification that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(A)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(B)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(C)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Retention Licence Fees Act.


Amendment of conditions

148.(1) If the provisional holder is dissatisfied with a licence condition, the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given the licence under section 147; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority receives a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

149.(1) If the provisional holder:

(a)   is notified of a security requirement; and

(b)  is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 147; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority receives a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Joint Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

150.(1) If the provisional holder makes a request under section 148 or 149, the provisional holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 147.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension; and

(b)  give the provisional holder a written notice informing the applicant of the period of the extension.


Acceptance of grant of retention licence

151.(1) The provisional grant of a retention licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the provisional holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security for the licence required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Retention Licence Fees Act.

(2)  A retention licence provisionally granted under section 143 or 144 is properly accepted by the provisional holder if the provisional holder:

(a)   has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 150; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Retention Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 154, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before the grant is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on grant

152.  If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, it is subject to:

(a)   the conditions specified in the licence given to the applicant under section 147; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 148—those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional grant of retention licence

153.  If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 151, the provisional grant lapses.

Division 3Duration of retention licence

Initial term of retention licence

154.(1) A retention licence comes into force on:

(a)   the day on which the grant of the licence is registered; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the grant of the licence is registered is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.


(2)  The initial term of a retention licence expires at the end of the period specified in the licence under subsection 146(1).

Note 1: For the maximum initial term see subsection 146(2).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 187).

(3)  The period runs from:

(a)   the day on which the licence is provisionally granted; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the licence is provisionally granted is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

Term of renewal of licence

155.(1) A renewal of a retention licence comes into force on:

(a)   the day on which the renewal is registered; or

(b)  the day on which the previous term of the licence expires;

whichever is the later.

Note: See Division 5 for renewal.

(2)  The term of a renewal of a licence expires at the end of the period specified in the notice under section 169.

Note 1: For the maximum term of renewal see subsection 169(3).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 187).

(3)  The period runs from the expiry of the previous term of the licence.

(4)  Ignore section 156 in working out the period referred to in subsection (3).

Effect of application for renewal on term of retention licence

156.  If:

(a)   a retention licence holder applies to renew the licence under section 159; and

(b)  the current term of the licence expires; and

(c)   a renewal of the licence does not take effect immediately after the current term expires;

the licence remains in force after the current term expires until:

(d)  a renewal of the licence takes effect; or

(e)   a provisional renewal of the licence lapses; or

(f)   the application for renewal is withdrawn or refused.

Effect of application for mining licence on term of retention licence

157.  If:

(a)   a retention licence holder applies for a mining licence over the licence area, or part of the licence area, of the retention licence; and

(b)  the current term of the retention licence expires; and


(c)   a grant of the mining licence does not take effect before the current term of the retention licence expires;

the retention licence remains in force until:

(d)  the grant of the mining licence takes effect; or

(e)   a provisional grant of the mining licence lapses; or

(f)   the application for the mining licence is withdrawn or refused.

Division 4Voluntary surrender of part of retention licence area

Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

158.(1) A retention licence holder may surrender a block or some of the blocks covered by the licence if the remaining blocks in the licence area form a discrete area.

Note: See section 187 for the surrender of the whole licence.

(2) A surrender under subsection (1):

(a)   must be made in a written notice; and

(b)  must identify the blocks surrendered; and

(c)   must be given to the Designated Authority.

Note: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Division 5Application for and grant of renewal of retention licence

Application for renewal of retention licence

159.      A retention licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority to renew the licence.

Note: At each renewal, the licence conditions are reviewed (see section 177).

When must an application to renew be made?

160.(1) Subject to subsection (2), the application must be made at least 6 months before the day on which the licence is to expire.

(2)  The Designated Authority may accept an application that is made later than 6 months before the day on which the licence is to expire if:

(a)   the application is made before the day on which the licence expires; and

(b)  the Designated Authority believes that there are reasonable grounds for accepting the application.

How to apply for renewal

161.(1) The application must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   include details of:


(i)  the reasons why the applicant is applying to renew the retention licence rather than applying for a mining licence; and

(ii)   the activities carried out by the applicant under the licence during its current term; and

(iii)  the amount of money spent by the applicant in relation to the blocks covered by the licence during its current term; and

(iv)  the results obtained by the applicant from carrying out the activities referred to in subparagraph (ii); and

(v)  the activities that the applicant intends to carry out under the licence during the term applied for; and

(vi)  the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend in relation to activities authorised by the licence during the term applied for.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Request for further information

162.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant to provide further information relating to the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)   in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Payment of fee

163.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Commonwealth-State offshore areaDesignated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

164.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.


(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 161 to 163, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 161 to 163, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of retention licence

165. If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 164, the Joint Authority may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  subject to section 168, refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 155, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 173 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 177, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

166.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 161 to 163, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) must refuse to renew the licence.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 161 to 163, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  subject to section 168, refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 155, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 173 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 177, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

Matters to be taken into account in deciding whether to renew retention licence

167.  In determining whether to renew the licence, the Joint Authority may have regard to:

(a)  whether mining activities are commercially viable in the retention licence area; and


(b)  whether the applicant has complied with:

(i)            this Act; and

(ii)     the regulations; and

(iii)    any licence conditions.

Refusal of application for renewal

168.(1) If the Joint Authority proposes to refuse to renew the licence, the Designated Authority must give the applicant notice of the proposed refusal.

Note: The retention licence remains in force until the application for renewal has been finally determined (i.e. until the Joint Authority decides whether or not to renew the licence) (see section 156).

(2)  The notice must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  give details of the Joint Authority’s reasons for its proposal not to renew the licence; and

(c)   invite the applicant to make written submissions on the proposed non-renewal to the Designated Authority; and

(d)  specify the day by which submissions should be made to the Designated Authority.

(3)  The day specified under paragraph (2)(d) is to be at least 30 days after the day on which the notice under subsection (1) is given to the applicant.

(4)  The Joint Authority, in deciding whether to refuse to renew the licence, must have regard to any submissions made by the applicant in response to the notice under subsection (1).

Applicant must be notified

169.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 165 or 166.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally renews the licence under section 165 or 166, the notice must contain the following information:

(a)   notification of the term of the renewal;

(b)  notification of the conditions of the renewed licence;

(c)   notification of any determination under section 399 that the applicant must lodge a security or a further security;

(d)  notification that the provisional renewal will lapse unless the applicant, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Retention Licence Fees Act.


Note: Paragraph (b): section 177 provides for renewals to be granted to conditions.

(3)  The term specified under paragraph (2)(a) is not to be more than 5 years.

Amendment of conditions

170.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)   has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 165 or 166; and

(b)  is notified of the licence conditions; and

(c)   is dissatisfied with a condition;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the applicant is given notice under section 169; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

171.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)   has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 165 or 166; and

(b)  is notified of a security requirement; and

(c)   is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 169; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

172.(1) If the licence holder makes a request under section 170 or 171, the holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.


(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 169.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request to extend the primary payment period, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension in writing; and

(b)  give the holder a written notice informing the holder of the period of the extension.

Acceptance of renewal of retention licence

173.(1) The provisional renewal of a retention licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)   pays the fees that must be under the Retention Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 155, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

(2)  The provisional renewal of a retention licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if the holder:

(a)  has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 172; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Retention Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 155, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

174.  If the provisional renewal is properly accepted, the renewed licence is subject to:

(a)  the conditions specified in the notice given to the licence holder under section 169; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 170—those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional renewal of retention licence

175.  If the provisional renewal of a retention licence is not properly accepted under section 173, the provisional renewal lapses.


Division 6Obligations associated with retention licence

General

176.(1) The sources of obligations associated with a retention licence are:

(a)   the licence conditions; and

(b)  obligations arising from compliance directions given by the Designated Authority; and

(c)   obligations imposed by this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraph (a) see section 177. For paragraph (b) see section 387. For paragraph (c) see sections 177 to 185 and section 372.

(2)  If a retention licence has 2 or more holders, all the holders are jointly and severally bound by the obligations that attach to the licence.

Conditions of retention licence

177.(1) The Joint Authority may grant or renew a retention licence subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(2)  If the Joint Authority grants or renews a retention licence subject to conditions, the conditions must be specified in the licence.

(3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Joint Authority may attach the following kinds of conditions to the grant or renewal of a retention licence:

(a)   a condition requiring the licence holder to take out insurance as required by the Designated Authority;

(b)  a condition requiring the holder to carry out certain activities in or in relation to the licence area during the term of the licence, and to comply with directions concerning those activities given under section 387;

(c)   a condition requiring the holder to spend a specified amount of money in carrying out the activities referred to in paragraph (b), and to comply with directions concerning that expenditure given under section 387;

(d)  a condition requiring the holder to lodge a security with the Designated Authority;

(e)   a condition requiring the holder to keep specified information;

(f)   a condition requiring the holder to give the Designated Authority, on request, specified information;

(g)   a condition requiring the holder to take steps to protect the environment of the licence area, including conditions relating to:

(i)    protecting wildlife; or

(ii)  minimising the effect on the environment of the licence area and the area surrounding the licence area of activities carried out in the licence area;


(h)  a condition requiring the holder to repair any damage to the environment caused by activities in the licence area;

(i)   a condition requiring the holder to pay a specified penalty to the Commonwealth if the holder does not comply with a licence condition.

(4)  A condition under paragraph (3)(d) must specify:

(a)  the amount of the security required; and

(b)  the kind of security required; and

(c)  the manner and form in which the security is to be lodged.

(5)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(d), a condition under that paragraph may require the lodgment of a security in the form of a guarantee and if a guarantee is required the condition may specify:

(a)  the kind of person who is to give the guarantee; and

(b)  the terms of the guarantee.

No conditions requiring payment of money

178.  Except for a condition requiring the payment of a penalty or lodgment of a security, a licence condition must not require the payment of money to:

(a)   the Designated Authority; or

(b)  the Joint Authority; or

(c)   the Commonwealth.

Variation of conditions

179.(1) If:

(a)  a retention licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to vary a licence condition; or

(b)  part of the licence area of a retention licence is surrendered under section 158;

the Joint Authority may vary a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)   a direction under section 387; or

(b)  an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to a retention licence holder, the Joint Authority may vary a licence condition to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may vary a licence condition subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority varies a licence condition, the Designated Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that:


(a)   informs the holder of the variation; and

(b)  specifies the conditions which have been varied; and

(c)   specifies any conditions to which the variation is subject.

Exemption from or suspension of conditions

180.(1) If:

(a)   a retention licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to:

(i)    suspend a licence condition; or

(ii)   exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition; or

(b)  part of the licence area of a retention licence is surrendered under section 158;

the Joint Authority may:

(c)   suspend a licence condition; or

(d)  exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)   a direction under section 387; or

(b)   an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to a retention licence holder, the Joint Authority may suspend a licence condition, or exempt the holder from compliance with a licence condition, to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may:

(a)   suspend a licence condition; or

(b)  exempt the licence holder from compliance with a licence condition;

subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends a licence condition; or

(b)  exempts the licence holder from complying with a licence condition;

the Designated Authority must give the holder a written notice that:

(c)   informs the holder of the exemption or suspension; and

(d)  specifies the conditions which have been suspended or affected by the exemption; and

(e)   specifies any conditions to which the suspension or exemption is subject.

Note: A suspension or exemption of a condition does not take effect until registered (see section 337).

Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

181. If:

(a)  the Joint Authority suspends particular rights conferred by a retention licence under section 135; and


(b)  a licence condition is affected by the suspension;

the licence condition is suspended for the period of the suspension of the rights.

Significant changes in circumstances to be reported to Designated Authority

182.(1) A retention licence holder must notify the Designated Authority of any change of circumstances that significantly affects the long term viability of mining activities in the retention licence area.

Note: The Joint Authority may cancel the retention licence if it believes that circumstances have changed so that mining activities can now commence (see section 190).

(2)  Subsection (1) applies to a change of circumstances whether favourable or unfavourable to the long term viability of mining activities in the retention licence area.

Work practices

183.  If a person who is:

(a)  a retention licence holder; or

(b)  an associate of the holder;

carries out activities in the licence area that are authorised by the licence, the person must take all reasonable steps:

(c)  to ensure that the activities are carried out at a standard that is accepted as reasonable and proper in the mining industry; and

(d)  to protect the health, safety and welfare of people engaged in the activities in and about the licence area; and

(e)  to maintain in good repair all structures and equipment in the licence area brought there by the person; and

(f)   to remove from the licence area any structure, equipment or other property that:

(i)    belongs to the person, or is under the person’s control; and

(ii)   is not being used, or is not going to be used, in connection with the activities.

Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units.

Licence holder must keep specified records etc.

184.  A retention licence holder must:

(a)  keep whatever records, cores and samples; and

(b)  give whatever records, cores and samples to the Designated Authority for inspection; and

(c)  make whatever returns;

are necessary to comply with:

(d)  the regulations; or


(e)  the licence conditions; or

(f)  a direction given by the Designated Authority under section 387.

Note: Under section 387 the Designated Authority may direct a person to keep records and cores, to collect and retain samples, and to make returns.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

Licence holder must assist inspectors

185.  A retention licence holder must provide an inspector with reasonable facilities and assistance so that the inspector is able to carry out compliance inspections.

Note: See sections 377 to 384 for compliance inspections.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

Division 7Expiry of retention licence

General

186.  A retention licence expires if:

(a)   the term of the licence expires without the licence being renewed; or

(b)  the licence holder surrenders the licence; or

(c)   a mining licence is granted over the blocks in the licence area of the retention licence; or

(d)  the licence is cancelled.

Note: For paragraph (a) see Division 5. For paragraph (b) see section 187. For paragraph (c) see section 188. For paragraph (d) see sections 189 and 190.

Voluntary surrender of retention licence

187.  A retention licence holder may surrender the licence.

Note 1: See Division 4 for voluntary surrender of part of a licence area.

Note 2: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under sction 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Automatic expiry of retention licence when mining licence takes effect

188.  If:

(a)   a retention licence is in force under this Act; and

(b)  the Joint Authority provisionally grants a mining licence over all or some of the blocks in the retention licence area; and

(c)   the provisional grant of the mining licence is properly accepted; and

(d)  the grant of the mining licence comes into force;

the retention licence expires in relation to the blocks covered by the mining licence.

Cancellation of retention licence—breach of condition etc.

189.(1) Subject to subsection (5), the Joint Authority may cancel a retention licence if the licence holder:

(a)  breaches a licence condition; or


(b)  contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations; or

(c)  breaches a condition attached to an approval under subsection 365(2); or

(d)  fails to pay user charge that is payable for the licence under the Retention Licence User Charge Act.

(2)  If the Joint Authority proposes to cancel a licence under subsection (1), the Designated Authority must give the holder a written notice that informs the holder of the proposed cancellation.

(3)  The notice must:

(a)   specify the reason for the proposed cancellation; and

(b)  invite the holder to make submissions in relation to the proposed cancellation; and

(c)   specify the day by which submissions should be given to the Joint Authority; and

(d)  specify an address where submissions are to be lodged.

(4)  The day specified under paragraph (3)(c) must be not less than 60 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(5)  The Joint Authority may cancel the licence only if:

(a)  the holder has been given a notice under subsection (2); and

(b)  the Joint Authority has considered:

(i)    any submission made by the holder; and

(ii)   any steps taken by the holder to remedy the circumstances that led to the proposal to cancel the licence and to prevent those circumstances from happening again; and

(c)  the Joint Authority is satisfied that no special circumstances exist that justify the licence not being cancelled.

Cancellation of retention licence—mining activities viable

190.(1) If the Joint Authority believes that mining activities should commence in a retention licence area, the Designated Authority must ask the licence holder to explain why the holder should not apply for a mining licence over the retention licence area.

(2)  A request under subsection (1) must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  specify the day by which the holder should give the explanation to the Designated Authority.

(3)  The day specified under paragraph (2)(b) is to be at least 30 days after the day on which the request is given to the holder.


(4)  An explanation provided in response to a request under subsection (1) must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the Designated Authority.

(5)  The Joint Authority may cancel the retention licence if:

(a)   the holder is given a request under subsection (1); and

(b)  either:

(i)  the holder does not give the Designated Authority an explanation in response to the request by the day specified in the request; or

(ii)  the holder gives the Designated Authority an explanation in response to the request but the Joint Authority does not consider the explanation to be satisfactory.

(6)  If the Joint Authority cancels a retention licence under subsection (5), the Joint Authority may specify the day on which the cancellation takes effect.

(7)  Without limiting subsection (6), the Joint Authority, in determining the day on which the cancellation is to take effect, may have regard to the time needed by the holder to obtain the grant of a mining licence over the retention licence area.

Obligations of former retention licence holders and former associates

191.(1) Subject to subsection (4), if:

(a)   a person was:

(i)     a retention licence holder; or

(ii)    an associate of a retention licence holder; and

(b)  the licence:

(i)    expires; or

(ii)     is cancelled; or

(iii)    is surrendered; and

(c)   an obligation associated with the licence arising out of:

(i)    a licence condition; or

(ii)  a direction given under section 387 by the Designated Authority in relation to the licence; or

(iii)  this Act or the regulations;

has not been discharged; and

(d)  the person was bound by that obligation when the person was the licence holder or an associate;

the person remains bound by the obligation until the obligation is discharged.


(2)  Subsection (1) does not continue an obligation to carry out exploration or recovery activities.

(3)  Subsection (1) continues an obligation that a person had to carry out exploration or recovery activities in a particular manner if the person carries them out.

(4)  The Joint Authority may determine that the person is not subject to:

(a)  a particular obligation under this section; or

(b)  all the person’s remaining obligations under this section.

(5)  A determination under subsection (4) is to be in writing.


PART 2.4—MINING LICENCES

Division 1General

Mining licences

192.(1) This Part provides for the grant of mining licences over blocks in an offshore area.

(2)  A mining licence may be granted over:

(a)   a vacant standard block (see Division 2); or

(b)  certain blocks that are not vacant (see Division 2); or

(c)   a tender block (see Division 3).

Note 1: A tender block is a block that has been declared available for tender. A standard block is any other block (see sections 19 and 20).

Note 2: A retention or exploration licence holder may apply for a mining licence over the same area or part of the same area.

Activities authorised by a mining licence

193.(1) Subject to subsection (2), a mining licence holder may:

(a)   recover minerals in the licence area; and

(b)  explore for minerals in the licence area.

Note 1: Under subsection 23(1) the concept of “exploration” extends to activities that are directly related to exploration.

Note 2: Under subsection 24(1) the concept of “recovery” extends to activities that are directly related to the recovery of minerals.

(2)  If the licence is expressed to restrict the kind of minerals covered by the licence, the holder is not permitted to recover, or to explore for, minerals not covered by the licence.

(3)  A restriction on the kind of minerals covered by the licence may be inclusive (for example, only minerals A, B and C) or exclusive (for example, all minerals except A, B and C).

(4)  For the purposes of subsection (2), the holder does not recover an excluded mineral if, in the course of recovering, or exploring for, another mineral, the holder recovers some excluded mineral.

Joint Authority may cancel or not renew mining licence without compensation

194.  No compensation is payable because of the cancellation or non-renewal of a mining licence by the Joint Authority.

Note 1: The Joint Authority may cancel the licence under section 265.

Note 2: The Joint Authority may refuse under section 242 or 243 to renew the licence.

Licence rights may be suspended

195.(1) The Joint Authority must suspend particular rights conferred by a mining licence if the Joint Authority is satisfied that it is necessary in the national interest to do so.


(2) The Joint Authority may suspend rights conferred under subsection (1) for a specified period or for an indefinite period.

(3) The Joint Authority may end a suspension at any time.

(4) A suspension or the ending of a suspension must be in writing.

(5) If the Joint Authority:

(a)  suspends rights conferred by a mining licence; or

(b)  ends a suspension;

the Joint Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of the suspension or the ending of a suspension.

Note: See section 258 for the effect of the suspension on the obligations associated with the licence.

(6) A suspension takes effect when:

(a)  the holder has been given notice of the suspension under subsection (5); and

(b)  the suspension has been registered under section 337.

Compensation for acquisition of property due to suspension of rights

196.(1) If:

(a)   the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 195; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)   the Commonwealth and the person agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the agreed amount of compensation.

(2)  If:

(a)   the Joint Authority suspends licence rights under section 195; and

(b)  the suspension results in the acquisition of property from a person; and

(c)   the Commonwealth and the person do not agree on an amount of compensation for the acquisition; and

(d)  the person brings an action for compensation against the Commonwealth in the High Court or an appropriate Supreme Court;

the Commonwealth must pay the person the amount of compensation (if any) that is determined by the court.

(3)  In this section:

“acquisition of property” means an acquisition of property within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution;

“appropriate Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of, or having jurisdiction in, the State or Territory for which the Joint Authority is established.


Division 2Application for and grant of mining licence over
standard blocks

Application for mining licence over vacant standard block

197.(1) A person may apply to the Joint Authority for a mining licence over a standard block that is vacant.

(2)  A standard block is vacant if no exploration, retention or mining licence is in force over the block.

(3)  The application must not cover more than 20 blocks.

(4)  If the application is for a licence over a group of blocks, the blocks must form a discrete area.

Holder of exploration licence or retention licence may apply for mining licence

198.(1) An exploration or retention licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority for a mining licence over all or some of the blocks in the licence area of the exploration or retention licence.

(2) A person may apply for a mining licence under subsection (1) over a group of blocks only if:

(a)   the group forms a discrete area; and

(b)  there are not more than 20 blocks in the group.

(3) The holder may apply for 2 or more mining licences over different parts of the licence area of the exploration or retention licence.

How to apply

199.(1) An application under section 197 or 198 must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   specify the blocks for which the application is made; and

(d)  include details of:

(i)     the activities that the applicant intends to carry out on the block or blocks covered by the application; and

(ii)    the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend on those activities; and

(iii)   the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s employees who are likely to be involved in activities authorised by the licence; and

(iv)   the technical advice available to the applicant; and

(v)    the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(vi)   if the licence is to be held by more than one person—the share of the licence that each prospective holder will hold; and


(e) be accompanied by maps that:

(i)    relate to the blocks; and

(ii)  comply with guidelines issued by the Designated Authority under subsection 41(2); and

(f)  specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Effect of inclusion of unavailable block in application

200. If:

(a)   a person applies under section 197 or 198 for a licence over a group of blocks; and

(b)  because of section 18, 197 or 198:

(i)  a mining licence cannot be granted over one or more of the blocks in the group; or

(ii)  the Joint Authority cannot grant the licence over one or more of the blocks in the group;

the Designated Authority and the Joint Authority may still deal with the application to the extent to which the application covers blocks:

(c)   for which a mining licence can be granted; or

(d)  for which the Joint Authority does have power to grant the licence applied for.

Note 1: A mining licence cannot be granted over a block that is not vacant or over a reserved block (see section 18).

Note 2: The Joint Authority for a State may grant a licence only over blocks in that State’s Commonwealth-State offshore area.

Payment of fee

201.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Application must be advertised

202.(1) The applicant must advertise the application in a newspaper that circulates throughout the State or external territory concerned.


(2)  The advertisement must contain:

(a)   the applicant’s name and address; and

(b)  a map and description of the blocks applied for that are sufficient for the blocks to be identified; and

(c)   the address of the Designated Authority; and

(d)  a statement:

(i)     that the applicant has applied for a mining licence over the blocks described in the notice; and

(ii)    that invites comment from the public on the application; and

(iii)   that requests that comments be sent to the applicant and the Designated Authority within 30 days after the day on which the advertisement is published.

(3)  The advertisement must be published as soon as possible after the applicant applies for a mining licence.

(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the advertisement must be published within 14 days after the day on which the applicant lodges the application.

(5)  If:

(a)   the applicant applies to the Designated Authority within the 14 day period referred to in subsection (4) for an extension of the period; and

(b)  the Designated Authority extends the period;

the advertisement must be published within the period as extended by the Designated Authority.

How multiple applications are dealt with

203.(1) Subject to subsection (2), if a block is covered by 2 or more applications for a mining or exploration licence, the Designated Authority must deal with the applications in the order in which they are made.

Note: See also section 58.

(2)  If:

(a)   the applications are lodged within a particular time of each other; and

(b)  the time is less than the time prescribed by the regulations;

the Designated Authority must determine the order in which the applications are to be dealt with by drawing lots in the way prescribed by the regulations.

Request for further information

204.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant for further information relating to the application.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and


(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3)  Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)   in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

205.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 199 to 204, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 199 to 204, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant mining licence

206.      If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 205, the Joint Authority may:

(a)   provisionally grant a mining licence to the applicant; or

(b)  subject to section 208, refuse the application.

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 214 for “proper acceptance”).

External territory offshore area—how application for mining licence dealt with

207.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 199 to 204, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) must refuse the application.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 199 to 204, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)  provisionally grant a mining licence to the applicant; or


(b)  subject to section 208, refuse the application.

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 214 for “proper acceptance”).

Refusal of application for mining licence made under section 198

208.(1) If the Joint Authority proposes to refuse an application for a mining licence made under section 198, the Designated Authority must notify the applicant of the proposed refusal.

(2)  The notice must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  specify the reason for the proposed refusal; and

(c)  invite the applicant to make written submissions in relation to the proposed refusal; and

(d)  specify the day by which submissions should be given to the Designated Authority; and

(e)  specify an address where submissions are to be lodged.

(3)  The day specified under paragraph (2)(d) must be not less than 30 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(4)  The Joint Authority may refuse to grant an application for a mining licence made under section 198 only if:

(a)  the applicant has been given a notice under subsection (1); and

(b)  the Joint Authority has considered any submission made by the applicant; and

(c)  the Joint Authority is satisfied that no special circumstances exist that justify the licence being granted.

Matters to be specified in the licence

209.(1) The licence must specify:

(a)   the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the term of the licence; and

(c)   the licence conditions.

(2)  The term specified under paragraph (1)(b) is not to exceed 21 years.

Applicant must be notified

210.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 206 or 207.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally grants a mining licence:

(a)  the Designated Authority must give the licence to the provisional holder; and


(b)  the notice under subsection (1) must contain the following information:

(i)  notification of any determination under section 399 that the provisional holder must lodge a security;

(ii)  notification that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(A)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(B)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(C)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

Amendment of conditions

211.(1) If the provisional holder is dissatisfied with a licence condition, the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given the licence under section 210; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

212.(1) If the provisional holder:

(a)   is notified of a security requirement; and

(b)  is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the applicant is given notice under section 210; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the new determination.


Extension of primary payment period

213.(1) If the provisional holder makes a request under section 211 or 212, the provisional holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 210.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension; and

(b)  give the provisional holder a written notice informing the applicant of the period of the extension.

Acceptance of grant of mining licence for standard block

214.(1) The provisional grant of a mining licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the provisional holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

(2)  The provisional grant of a mining licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if the provisional holder:

(a)   has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 213; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on grant

215.  If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, it is subject to:

(a)  the conditions specified in the licence given to the applicant under section 210; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 211—those conditions as amended.


Lapse of provisional grant of mining licence

216.  If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 214, the provisional grant lapses.

Division 3Application for and grant of mining licence over tender block

Matters to be determined before applications for mining licence over tender blocks invited

217.(1) If the Joint Authority proposes to invite applications for the grant of a mining licence over reserved blocks, the Joint Authority must, before inviting the applications, determine:

(a)   the procedure and criteria that the Joint Authority will adopt to allocate the licence; and

(b)  the amount of security that will be required for the licence under section 399; and

(c)   the initial term of the licence; and

(d)  the licence conditions.

(2)  The term determined under paragraph (1)(c) is not to exceed 21 years.

Joint Authority may invite applications for mining licence over tender blocks

218.(1)  Subject to subsection (2), the Joint Authority may invite applications for the grant of a mining licence over reserved blocks.

(2)  Applications may be invited for a licence covering a group of reserved blocks only if the group forms a discrete area.

(3)  The Joint Authority is to invite applications by publishing a tender block licence notice for the licence in the Gazette.

Note 1: A mining licence may cover not more than 20 tender blocks (see section 219).

Note 2: A mining licence might be made available by a tender block notice if a mineral deposit in the area had already been identified and sufficient information was already available to justify the issue of a mining licence rather than an exploration licence.

Tender block licence notice—mining licence

219.(1) A tender block licence notice for a mining licence must:

(a)   specify the blocks to be covered by the licence; and

(b)  specify the period within which applications may be made; and

(c)   specify the procedure and criteria that the Joint Authority will adopt to allocate the licence; and

(d)  specify the amount of security that the successful applicant will be required to lodge; and

(e)   specify the initial term of the licence; and

(f)   include a statement to the effect that information about:


(i)   the security that the successful applicant will be required to lodge; and

(ii)    the licence conditions;

may be obtained from the Designated Authority.

(2)  The tender block licence notice may specify not more than 20 blocks for the mining licence.

Application for mining licence over tender blocks

220.  If a tender block licence notice has been published inviting applications for a mining licence, a person may apply for the licence.

How to apply

221.(1) The application must:

(a)   be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)   be made before the end of the period specified in the tender block licence notice; and

(d)  include details of:

(i)    the technical qualifications of the applicant and of the applicant’s employees who are likely to be involved in activities authorised by the licence; and

(ii)   the technical advice available to the applicant; and

(iii)  the financial resources available to the applicant; and

(iv)  if the licence is to be held by more than one person—the share of the licence that each prospective holder will hold; and

(e)   specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  If the Joint Authority has specified in the tender block licence notice that it will select the successful applicant on the basis of development proposals submitted for the blocks to be covered by the licence, the application must include details of the applicant’s development proposals for the blocks.

(3)  If the Joint Authority has specified in the tender block licence notice that it will select the successful applicant on the basis of the amounts of money offered for the licence, the application must state the amount offered by the applicant for the licence.

(4)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(5)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.


Payment of fee

222.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Request for further information

223.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant for further information relating to the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)  in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

224.(1)  This section applies if the tender block notice relates to blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2)  If an applicant does what is required by sections 221 to 223, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3)  If an applicant does not do what is required by sections 221 to 223, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant tender block mining licence

225.(1) If the Designated Authority refers applications to the Joint Authority under section 224, the Joint Authority may provisionally grant a mining licence to one of the applicants.

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 228 for “proper acceptance”).


(2)  The Joint Authority may provisionally grant a licence under subsection (1) even if only one application is referred to the Joint Authority by the Designated Authority.

(3)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (1), the Joint Authority must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 218.

External territory offshore area—how applications dealt with

226.(1) This section applies if the tender block licence notice relates to blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) The responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area):

(a)   must refuse an application if the applicant does not do what is required by sections 221 to 223; and

(b)  may provisionally grant a mining licence to an applicant whose application has not been refused under paragraph (a).

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 228 for “proper acceptance”).

(3)  The responsible Commonwealth Minister may provisionally grant a licence under subsection (2) even if there is only one application that is not refused under paragraph (2)(a).

(4)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (2), the responsible Commonwealth Minister must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 218.

Successful applicant must be notified

227.(1) If the Joint Authority provisionally grants a mining licence under section 225, 226 or 231, the Designated Authority must give the provisional holder:

(a)   the licence; and

(b)  written notice that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Mining Licence Fees Act; and


(iv)  if the tender is determined on the basis of the amounts of money offered for the licence—pays the Commonwealth the amount that the provisional holder offered for the licence under subsection 221(3).

(2)  The licence must specify:

(a)   the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the term of the licence; and

(c)   the licence conditions.

Note: For the term of a licence see subsection 217(2).

Acceptance of grant of mining licence over tender blocks

228.  The provisional grant of a mining licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 227, the provisional holder:

(a)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)  pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Mining Licence Fees Act; and

(d)  if the tender is determined on the basis of the amounts of money offered for the licence—pays the Commonwealth the amount that the provisional holder offered for the licence under subsection 221(3).

Note: Under section 232, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on grant

229.  If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, the licence is subject to the conditions determined under section 217.

Lapse of provisional grant of mining licence

230.  If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 229, the provisional grant lapses.

Provisional grant to next applicant if grant lapses

231.(1) If the provisional grant of the licence lapses under section 230, the Joint Authority may provisionally grant the licence to another of the applicants for the licence.

(2)  When provisionally granting a licence under subsection (1), the Joint Authority must follow the procedure and apply the criteria specified in the tender block licence notice published for the licence under section 218.

Division 4Duration of mining licence

Initial term of mining licence

232.(1) A mining licence comes into force on:


(a)   the day on which the grant of the licence is registered; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the grant of the licence is registered is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

(2)  The initial term of a mining licence ends:

(a)   if the licence is granted under Division 2—at the end of the period specified in the licence under subsection 209(1); or

(b)  if the licence is granted under Division 3—at the end of the period specified under subsection 227(2).

Note 1: For the maximum initial term of renewal see subsections 209(2) and 217(2).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 264).

(3)  The period runs from:

(a)   the day on which the licence is provisionally granted; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the licence is provisionally granted is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

Term of renewal of licence

233.(1) A renewal of a mining licence comes into force on:

(a)   the day on which the renewal is registered; or

(b)  the day on which the previous term of the licence expires;

whichever is the later.

Note: See Division 6 for renewal.

(2)  The term of a renewal of a licence ends at the end of the period specified in the notice under section 246.

Note 1: For the maximum term of renewal see subsection 246(3).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 264).

(3)  The period runs from the day on which the previous term of the licence expires.

(4)  Ignore section 234 in working out the period referred to in subsection (3).

Effect of application for renewal on term of mining licence

234.      If:

(a)   a mining licence holder applies to renew the licence under section 236; and

(b)  the current term of the licence expires; and

(c)   a renewal of the licence does not take effect immediately after the current term expires;

the licence remains in force after the current term expires until:


(d)  a renewal of the licence takes effect; or

(e)   a provisional renewal of the licence lapses; or

(f)   the application for renewal is withdrawn or refused.

Division 5Voluntary surrender of part of mining licence area

Voluntary surrender of blocks if discrete area remains

235.(1) A mining licence holder may surrender a block or some of the blocks covered by the licence if the remaining blocks in the licence area form a discrete area.

Note: See section 264 for the surrender of the whole licence.

(2)  A surrender under subsection (1) must:

(a)  be made in writing; and

(b)  identify the blocks surrendered; and

(c)  be given to the Designated Authority.

Note: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Division 6Application for and grant of renewal of mining licence

Application for renewal of mining licence

236.  A mining licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority to renew the licence.

Note: At each renewal, the licence conditions are reviewed (see section 254).

When must an application to renew be made?

237.(1) Subject to this section, the application must be made at least 6 months before the day on which the licence is to expire.

(2)  The Designated Authority may accept an application that is made later than 6 months before the day on which the licence is to expire if:

(a)  the application is made before the day on which the licence expires; and

(b)  the Designated Authority believes that there are reasonable grounds for accepting the application.

How to apply for renewal

238.(1) The application must:

(a)  be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)  include details of:

(i)     the activities carried out by the applicant under the licence during its current term; and

(ii)  the amount of money spent by the applicant in relation to the blocks covered by the licence during its current term; and


(iii)   the activities that the applicant intends to carry out under the licence during the term applied for; and

(iv)  the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend in relation to activities authorised by the licence during the term applied for.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Request for further information

239.(1) The Designated Authority may ask the applicant to provide further information relating to the application.

(2) The request must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  be given to the applicant; and

(c)  specify the time within which the information must be provided.

(3) Information requested under subsection (1) must be provided:

(a)  in writing; and

(b)  within the time specified in the request.

Payment of fee

240.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

241.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2)  If the applicant does what is required by sections 237 to 240, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3)  If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 237 to 240, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and


(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4)  The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of mining licence

242.      If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the renewal application to the Joint Authority under section 241, the Joint Authority may:

(a)  provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  subject to section 245, refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 233, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 250 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 254, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

243.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 237 to 240, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) must refuse to renew the licence.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 237 to 240, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  subject to section 245, refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 233, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 250 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 254, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

Matters to be taken into account in deciding whether to renew mining licence

244.  In deciding whether to renew a mining licence, the Joint Authority may have regard to whether the applicant has complied with:

(a)   this Act; and

(b)  the regulations; and

(c)   any licence conditions.

Refusal of application for renewal

245.(1) If the Joint Authority proposes to refuse to renew the licence, the Designated Authority must give the applicant notice of the proposed refusal.


(2)  The notice must:

(a)  be in writing; and

(b)  specify the reason for the proposed refusal; and

(c)  invite the holder to make written submissions in relation to the proposed refusal; and

(d)  specify the day by which submissions should be given to the Designated Authority; and

(e)  specify an address where submissions are to be lodged.

(3)  The day specified under paragraph (2)(d) must be not less than 30 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(4)  The Joint Authority may refuse to grant the application only if:

(a)  the holder has been given a notice under subsection (1); and

(b)  the Joint Authority has considered any submission made by the applicant; and

(c)  the Joint Authority is satisfied that no special circumstances exist that justify the renewal being granted.

Applicant must be notified

246.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 242 or 243.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally renews the licence under section 242 or 243, the notice must contain the following information:

(a)   notification of the term of the renewal;

(b)  notification of the conditions of the renewed licence;

(c)   notification of any determination under section 399 that the applicant must lodge a security or a further security;

(d)  notification that the provisional renewal will lapse unless the applicant, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid for the renewal under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

Note: Section 254 provides for renewals to be granted subject to conditions.

(3)  The term specified under paragraph (2)(a) is not to be more than 21 years.

Amendment of conditions

247.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)  has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 242 or 243; and


(b)  is notified of the licence conditions; and

(c)   is dissatisfied with a condition;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 246; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

248.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)   has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 242 or 243; and

(b)  is notified of a security requirement for the licence; and

(c)   is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 246; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

249.(1) If the licence holder makes a request under section 247 or 248, the holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 246.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension in writing; and

(b)  give the holder a written notice informing the holder of the period of the extension.


Acceptance of renewal of mining licence

250.(1) The provisional renewal of a mining licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the holder:

(a)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)  pays the fees that must be paid under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 233, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

(2)  The provisional renewal of a mining licence is properly accepted by the licence holder if the holder:

(a)  has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 249; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Mining Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 233, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration).

Conditions applicable to licence on renewal

251.  If the provisional renewal is properly accepted, the renewed licence is subject to:

(a)   the conditions specified in the notice given to the licence holder under section 246; or

(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 247— those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional renewal of mining licence

252.  If the provisional renewal of a mining licence is not properly accepted under section 250, the provisional renewal lapses.

Division 7Obligations associated with mining licence

General

253.(1) The sources of obligations associated with a mining licence are:

(a)   the licence conditions; and

(b)  obligations arising from compliance directions given by the Designated Authority; and


(c)  obligations imposed by this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraph (a) see sections 254 to 256. For paragraph (b) see section 387. For paragraph (c) see sections 259 to 262 and section 372.

(2)  If a mining licence has 2 or more holders, all the holders are jointly and severally bound by the obligations that attach to the licence.

Conditions of mining licence

254.(1) The Joint Authority may grant or renew a mining licence subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(2)  If the Joint Authority grants or renews a mining licence subject to conditions, the conditions must be specified in the licence.

(3)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Joint Authority may attach the following kinds of conditions to the grant or renewal of a mining licence:

(a)   a condition requiring the licence holder to take out insurance as required by the Designated Authority;

(b)  a condition requiring the holder to carry out certain work in or in relation to the licence area during the term of the licence, and to comply with directions concerning that work given under section 387;

(c)   a condition requiring the holder to lodge a security with the Designated Authority;

(d)  a condition requiring the holder to keep specified information;

(e)   a condition requiring the holder to give to the Designated Authority, on request, specified information;

(f)   a condition requiring the holder to take steps to protect the environment of the licence area, including conditions relating to:

(i)    protecting wildlife; or

(ii)   minimising the effect on the environment of the licence area and the area surrounding the licence area of activities carried out in the licence area;

(g)   a condition requiring the holder to repair any damage to the environment caused by activities in the licence area;

(h)  a condition requiring the holder to pay a specified penalty to the Commonwealth if the holder does not comply with a licence condition.

(4)  A condition under paragraph (3)(c) must specify:

(a)  the amount of the security required; and

(b)  the kind of security required; and

(c)  the manner and form in which the security is to be lodged.

(5)  Without limiting paragraph (3)(c), a condition under that paragraph may require the lodgment of a security in the form of a guarantee and if a guarantee is required the condition may specify:


(a)   the kind of person who is to give the guarantee; and

(b)  the terms of the guarantee.

No conditions requiring payment of money

255.      Except for a condition requiring the payment of a penalty or lodgment of security, a licence condition must not require the payment of money to:

(a)   the Designated Authority; or

(b)  the Joint Authority; or

(c)   the Commonwealth.

Variation of conditions

256.(1) If:

(a)   a mining licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to vary a licence condition; or

(b)  part of the licence area of a mining licence is surrendered under section 235;

a Joint Authority may vary a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)   a direction under section 387; or

(b)  an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to a mining licence holder, the Joint Authority may vary a licence condition to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may vary a licence condition subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority varies a licence condition, the Designated Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that:

(a)   informs the holder of the variation; and

(b)  specifies the conditions which have been varied; and

(c)   specifies any conditions to which the variation is subject.

Exemption from or suspension of conditions

257.(1) If:

(a)  a mining licence holder requests the Designated Authority in writing to:

(i)    suspend a licence condition; or

(ii)   exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition; or

(b)  part of the licence area of a mining licence is surrendered under section 235;


the Joint Authority may:

(c)   suspend a licence condition; or

(d)  exempt the holder from complying with a licence condition.

(2)  If a Designated Authority gives:

(a)  a direction under section 387; or

(b)  an approval, consent or exemption under the regulations;

to a mining licence holder, the Joint Authority may suspend a licence condition, or exempt the holder from compliance with a licence condition, to the extent necessary to avoid inconsistency between the licence conditions and the direction, approval, consent or exemption.

(3)  The Joint Authority may:

(a)   suspend a licence condition; or

(b)  exempt the licence holder from complying with a licence condition;

subject to whatever conditions the Joint Authority thinks appropriate.

(4)  If the Joint Authority:

(a)   suspends a licence condition; or

(b)  exempts the licence holder from complying with a licence condition;

the Designated Authority must give the holder a written notice that:

(c)   informs the holder of the exemption or suspension; and

(d)  specifies the conditions which have been suspended or affected by the exemption; and

(e)  specifies any conditions to which the suspension or exemption is subject.

Note: A suspension or exemption of a condition does not take effect until registered (see section 337).

Automatic suspension of conditions if licence rights are suspended

258.  If:

(a)   the Joint Authority suspends particular rights conferred by a mining licence under section 195; and

(b)  a licence condition is affected by the suspension;

the licence condition is suspended for the period of the suspension of the rights.

Work practices

259.  If a person who is:

(a)   a mining licence holder; or

(b)  an associate of the holder;

carries out activities in the licence area that are authorised by the licence, the person must take all reasonable steps:

(c)   to ensure that the activities are carried out at a standard that is accepted as reasonable and proper in the mining industry; and


(d)  to protect the health, safety and welfare of people engaged in the activities in and about the licence area; and

(e)  to maintain in good repair all structures and equipment in the licence area brought there by the person; and

(f)   to remove from the licence area any structure, equipment or other property that:

(i)     belongs to the person, or is under the person’s control; and

(ii)     is not being used, or is not going to be used, in connection with the activities.

Maximum penalty: 200 penalty units.

Licence holder must comply with Royalty Act

260.  A mining licence holder must comply with the Royalty Act.

Licence holder must keep specified records

261.  A mining licence holder must:

(a)  keep whatever records, cores and samples; and

(b)  give whatever records, cores and samples to the Designated Authority for inspection; and

(c)  make whatever returns;

are necessary to comply with:

(d)  the regulations; or

(e)  the licence conditions; or

(f)   a direction given by the Designated Authority under section 387.

Note: Under section 387 the Designated Authority may direct a person to keep records and cores, to collect and retain samples, and to make returns.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

Licence holder must assist inspectors

262.  A mining licence holder must provide an inspector with reasonable facilities and assistance so that the inspector is able to carry out compliance inspections.

Note: See sections 377 to 384 for compliance inspections.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

Division 8Expiry of mining licence

General

263.  A mining licence expires if:

(a)  the term of the licence expires without the licence being renewed; or

(b)  the licence holder surrenders the licence; or

(c)  the licence is cancelled.


Note: For paragraph (a) see Division 6. For paragraph (b) see section 264. For paragraph (c) see section 265.

Voluntary surrender of mining licence

264.      A mining licence holder may surrender the licence.

Note 1: See Division 5 for voluntary surrender of part of a licence area.

Note 2: The surrender takes effect when it is registered under section 337 (see subsection 337(5)).

Cancellation of mining licence

265.(1) Subject to subsection (5), the Joint Authority may cancel a mining licence if the licence holder:

(a)  breaches a licence condition; or

(b)  contravenes a provision of this Act or the regulations; or

(c)  breaches a condition attached to an approval under subsection 365(2).

(2)  If the Joint Authority proposes to cancel a licence under subsection (1), the Designated Authority must give the licence holder a written notice that informs the holder of the proposed cancellation.

(3)  The notice must:

(a)   specify the reason for the proposed cancellation; and

(b)  invite the holder to make submissions in relation to the proposed cancellation; and

(c)   specify the day by which submissions should be given to the Joint Authority; and

(d)  specify an address where submissions are to be lodged.

(4)  The day specified under paragraph (3)(c) must be not less than 60 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(5)  The Joint Authority may cancel the licence only if:

(a)  the holder has been given a notice under subsection (2); and

(b)  the Joint Authority has considered:

(i)    any submission made by the holder; and

(ii)  any steps taken by the holder to remedy the circumstances that led to the proposal to cancel the licence and to prevent those circumstances from happening again; and

(c)  the Joint Authority is satisfied that no special circumstances exist that justify the licence not being cancelled.

Obligations of former mining licence holders and former associates

266.(1) Subject to subsection (4), if:

(a)   a person was:

(i)   a mining licence holder; or


(ii)  an associate of a mining licence holder; and

(b)  the licence:

(i)   expires; or

(ii)  is cancelled; or

(iii) is surrendered; and

(c)   an obligation associated with the licence arising out of:

(i)   a licence condition; or

(ii)  a direction given under section 387 by the Designated Authority in relation to the licence; or

(iii) this Act or the regulations;

has not been discharged; and

(d)  the person was bound by that obligation when the person was the licence holder or an associate;

the person remains bound by the obligation until the obligation is discharged.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not continue an obligation to carry out exploration or recovery activities.

(3)  Subsection (1) continues an obligation that a person had to carry out exploration or recovery activities in a particular manner if the person carries them out.

(4)  The Joint Authority may determine that the person is not subject to:

(a)   a particular obligation under this section; or

(b)  all the person’s remaining obligations under this section.

(5)  A determination under subsection (4) is to be in writing.


PART 2.5—WORKS LICENCES

Division 1General

Works licences

267.(1) This Part provides for the grant of works licences over blocks in an offshore area.

Note: A works licence allows licence-related activities to be carried out on blocks that are outside the licence area of the exploration, retention or mining licence concerned.

(2)  A works licence can only authorise activities that:

(a)  are directly connected with activities that are carried out, or are to be carried out, under an exploration, retention or mining licence; and

(b)  are necessary or desirable for the exploration, retention or mining licence holder to:

(i)     effectively exercise the licence rights; or

(ii)    effectively perform the licence obligations.

(3)  A works licence can be granted over a particular block even though the block is a reserved block or is in someone else’s licence area.

(4)  More than one works licence can be granted over a particular block.

(5)  A works licence may be granted so as to allow activities that are connected with 2 or more licences.

Activities authorised by a works licence

268.  A works licence holder may carry out in the licence area the activities that are specified in the licence.

Joint Authority may cancel or not renew works licence without compensation

269.  No compensation is payable because of the cancellation or non-renewal of a works licence by the Joint Authority.

Note 1: The Joint Authority may cancel the licence under section 313.

Note 2: The Joint Authority may refuse under section 294 or 295 to renew the licence.

Division 2Application for and grant of works licence

Application for works licence

270.  A person may apply to the Joint Authority for a works licence over a block.


How to apply

271.(1) The application must:

(a)  be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)  include details of the activities that the applicant proposes to carry out; and

(d)  be accompanied by a map that shows the proposed location of the activities; and

(e)  specify an address for service of notices under this Act and the regulations.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.

(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Payment of fee

272.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Applicant to notify licence holders affected by the application

273.(1)  The applicant must notify interested licence holders of the application.

(2)  The notification:

(a)  must be given to the interested licence holder in writing; and

(b)  must give details of the works licence applied for; and

(c)  must invite the interested licence holder to give comments to the Designated Authority within 30 days after the day on which the notice is given.

(3)  For the purposes of this section, a licence holder is interested if:

(a)   a block covered by the application is inside the licence area; and

(b)  the holder is not the applicant.

Application must be advertised

274.(1) The applicant must advertise the application in a newspaper circulating throughout the State or external territory concerned.


(2)  The advertisement must contain:

(a)   the applicant’s name and address; and

(b)  a map and description of the blocks covered that are sufficient for the blocks to be identified; and

(c)   details of the activities that the applicant proposes to carry out; and

(d)  a map showing the proposed location of those activities; and

(e)   the address of the Designated Authority; and

(f)   a statement:

(i)  that the applicant has applied for a works licence over the blocks described in the notice; and

(ii)    that invites comment from the public on the application; and

(iii)   that requests that comments be sent to the applicant and to the Designated Authority specified in the notice within 30 days of the day on which the advertisement is published.

(3)  The advertisement must be published as soon as possible after the applicant applies for the works licence.

(4)  Subject to subsection (5), the advertisement must be published within 14 days after the day on which the applicant lodges the application.

(5)  If:

(a)  the applicant applies to the Designated Authority within the 14 day period referred to in subsection (4) for an extension of the period; and

(b)  the Designated Authority extends the period;

the advertisement must be published within the period as extended by the Designated Authority.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

275.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 271 to 274, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 271 to 274, the Designated Authority:

(a)   must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).


Commonwealth-State offshore area—Joint Authority may provisionally grant works licence

276.      If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 275, the Joint Authority may:

(a)  provisionally grant a works licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 286, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 283 for “proper acceptance”).

External territory offshore area—how application for works licence dealt with

277.(1) This section applies if the application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 271 to 274, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) must refuse the application.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 271 to 274, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)   provisionally grant a works licence to the applicant; or

(b)  refuse the application.

Note: Under section 286, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration). The grant will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 283 for “proper acceptance”).

Matters to be specified in the licence

278.(1) The licence must specify:

(a)   the blocks covered by the licence; and

(b)  the activities authorised by the licence; and

(c)   the area in which the activities are to be carried out; and

(d)  the term of the licence; and

(e)   the licence conditions.

(2)  The term specified under paragraph (1)(d) is not to exceed 5 years.

Applicant must be notified

279.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 276 or 277.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally grants a works licence:

(a)   the Designated Authority must give the licence to the provisional holder; and


(b)  the notice under subsection (1) must contain the following information:

(i)  notification of any determination under section 399 that the provisional holder must lodge a security;

(ii)   notification that the provisional grant will lapse unless the provisional holder, before the end of the primary payment period:

(A)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(B)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(C)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Works Licence Fees Act.

Amendment of conditions

280.(1) If the provisional holder is dissatisfied with a licence condition, the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given the licence under section 279; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority receives a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

281.(1) If the provisional holder:

(a)   is notified of a security requirement; and

(b)  is dissatisfied with the amount of the security required;

the provisional holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)   be made within 30 days after the day on which the applicant is given notice under section 279; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority receives a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the provisional holder written notice of the new determination.


Extension of primary payment period

282.(1) If the provisional holder makes a request under section 280 or 281, the provisional holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the provisional holder is given notice under section 279.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension; and

(b)  give the provisional holder a written notice informing the holder of the period of the extension.

Acceptance of grant of works licence

283.(1) The provisional grant of a works licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the provisional holder:

(a)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(c)  pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Works Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 286, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

(2)  The provisional grant of a works licence is properly accepted by the provisional holder if the provisional holder:

(a)   has been granted an extension of the primary payment period under section 282; and

(b)  before the end of the secondary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the grant; and

(ii)   lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid for the licence under the Works Licence Fees Act.

Note: Under section 286, the grant of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 333 for registration).

Conditions applicable to works licence on grant

284.      If the provisional grant of the licence is properly accepted, it is subject to:

(a)  the conditions specified in the licence given to the applicant under section 279; or


(b)  if the Joint Authority amended those conditions under section 280—those conditions as amended.

Lapse of provisional grant of works licence

285.      If the provisional grant of the licence is not properly accepted under section 283, the provisional grant lapses.

Division 3Duration of works licence

Initial term of works licence

286.(1) A works licence comes into force on:

(a)   the day on which the grant of the licence is registered; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the grant of the licence is registered is specified in the licence as its commencement day—that specified day.

(2)  The initial term of a works licence expires at the end of the period specified in the licence under subsection 278(1).

Note 1: For the maximum initial term see subsection 278(2).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 312).

(3)  The period is to run from:

(a)  the day on which the licence is provisionally granted; or

(b)  if a day later than the day on which the licence is provisionally granted is specified in the licence as the licence’s commencement day—that specified day.

Term of renewal of works licence

287.(1) A renewal of a works licence comes into force on:

(a)  the day on which the renewal is registered; or

(b)  the day on which the previous term of the licence expires;

whichever is the later.

Note: See Division 4 for renewal.

(2)  The term of a renewal of a licence expires at the end of the period specified in the notice under section 296.

Note 1: For the maximum term of renewal see subsection 296(3).

Note 2: The licence may be surrendered at any time (see section 312).

(3)  The period runs from the day on which the previous term of the licence expires.

Effect of application for renewal on term of works licence

288.      If:

(a)  a works licence holder applies to renew the licence under section 289; and


(b)  the current term of the licence expires; and

(c)   a renewal of the licence does not take effect immediately after the current term expires;

the licence remains in force after the current term expires until:

(d)  a renewal of the licence takes effect; or

(e)   a provisional renewal of the licence lapses; or

(f)  the application for renewal is withdrawn or refused;

whichever happens first.

Division 4Application for and grant of renewal of works licence

Application for renewal of works licence

289.  A works licence holder may apply to the Joint Authority to renew the licence.

Note: At each renewal, the works licence conditions are reviewed (see section 304).

When must an application to renew be made?

290.(1) Subject to subsection (2), the application must be made at least 30 days before the day on which the licence is to expire.

(2)  The Designated Authority may accept an application that is made later than 30 days before the day on which the works licence is to expire if:

(a)  the application is made before the day on which the licence expires; and

(b)  the Designated Authority believes that there are reasonable grounds for accepting the application.

How to apply for renewal

291.(1) The application must:

(a)  be made in accordance with the approved form; and

(b)  be made in the approved manner; and

(c)  include details of:

(i)  the activities carried out by the applicant under the licence during its current term; and

(ii)  the amount of money spent by the applicant in relation to the blocks covered by the licence during its current term; and

(iii)   the activities that the applicant intends to carry out under the licence during the term applied for; and

(iv)  the amount of money that the applicant intends to spend in relation to the activities authorised by the licence during the term applied for.

Note: For paragraphs (a) and (b) see section 41.


(2)  The applicant may include in the application any other information that the applicant thinks is relevant.

(3)  The application must be lodged with the Designated Authority.

Payment of fee

292.(1) The applicant must pay the application fee prescribed by the regulations.

(2)  The fee must be paid when the application is made.

(3)  The Joint Authority may refund any fee paid under subsection (1) but only if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist that justify the refund of the fee.

Commonwealth-State offshore area—Designated Authority must refer renewal application to Joint Authority if certain requirements met

293.(1)  This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in a Commonwealth-State offshore area.

(2) If the applicant does what is required by sections 290 to 292, the Designated Authority must refer the application to the Joint Authority.

(3) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 290 to 292, the Designated Authority:

(a)  must not refer the application to the Joint Authority; and

(b)  must give the applicant written notice that the application has been refused.

(4) The application lapses if a notice is given under subsection (3).

Commonwealth-State offshore area—provisional renewal of works licence

294.      If the Designated Authority for a Commonwealth-State offshore area refers the application to the Joint Authority under section 293, the Joint Authority may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 287, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 300 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 304, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

External territory offshore area—how application for renewal dealt with

295.(1) This section applies if the renewal application covers blocks in an external territory offshore area.


(2) If the applicant does not do what is required by sections 290 to 292, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for the offshore area) must refuse to renew the licence.

(3) If the applicant does what is required by sections 290 to 292, the responsible Commonwealth Minister (as the Joint Authority for that offshore area) may:

(a)   provisionally renew the licence; or

(b)  refuse to renew the licence.

Note 1: Under section 287, the renewal of the licence cannot be effective before it is registered (see section 334 for registration). The renewal will not be registered until it has been properly accepted (see section 300 for “proper acceptance”).

Note 2: Under section 304, new conditions may be imposed on renewal.

Applicant must be notified

296.(1) The Designated Authority must give the applicant written notice of the Joint Authority’s decision under section 294 or 295.

(2)  If the Joint Authority provisionally renews the works licence under section 294 or 295, the notice must contain the following information:

(a)   notification of the term of the renewal;

(b)  notification of the conditions of the renewed licence;

(c)   notification that the provisional renewal will lapse unless the applicant, before the end of the primary payment period:

(i)  gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(ii)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and

(iii)   pays the fees that must be paid under the Works Licence Fees Act.

Note: Paragraph (b): section 304 provides for renewals to be granted subject to conditions.

(3)  The term specified under paragraph (2)(a) is not to be more than 5 years.

Amendment of conditions

297.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)   has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 294 or 295; and

(b)  is notified of the licence conditions; and

(c)   is dissatisfied with a licence condition;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to amend the condition.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 296; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.


(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Joint Authority may amend the licence conditions.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the amendment.

Amendment of security requirements

298.(1) If the licence holder:

(a)  has been provisionally granted a renewal of the licence under section 294 or 295; and

(b)  is notified of a security requirement; and

(c)  is dissatisfied with the amount of security required;

the holder may ask the Joint Authority to make a new determination under section 399.

(2)  The request must:

(a)  be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 296; and

(b)  be lodged with the Designated Authority.

(3)  If the Joint Authority is given a request under subsection (1), the Authority may make a new determination under section 399.

(4)  The Designated Authority must give the holder written notice of the new determination.

Extension of primary payment period

299.(1) If the licence holder makes a request under section 297 or 298, the holder may ask the Designated Authority to extend the primary payment period.

(2)  The request must be made within 30 days after the day on which the holder is given notice under section 296.

(3)  If the Designated Authority agrees to the request, the Designated Authority must:

(a)   determine the period of the extension in writing; and

(b)  give the holder written notice informing the holder of the period of the extension.

Acceptance of renewal of works licence

300.(1) The provisional renewal of a works licence is properly accepted by the holder if, before the end of the primary payment period, the holder:

(a)   gives the Designated Authority a written acceptance of the renewal; and

(b)  lodges any security required by the Joint Authority under section 399; and