Principles of Natural Resources Law

Subject LAWS90043 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 14-Mar-2016
Teaching Period 11-Apr-2016 to 15-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 13-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 31-Jan-2016
Census Date 11-Apr-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 03-Jun-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2
November, Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students cannot enrol in this subject if they have completed:

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Prof Michael Crommelin



Professor Michael Crommelin AO (Coordinator)

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Natural resources such as minerals, petroleum and geothermal energy have shaped Australia’s history, economy, society and environment for more than 150 years, and continue to do so. The exploitation of these resources involves governments, as proprietors and regulators, together with private enterprise, as explorers and developers. The complex relationship between governments and private enterprise provides the central theme of the subject. Australia’s federal system of government adds to the complexity of that relationship. The subject begins by identifying fundamental legal principles applicable to exploration for and production of natural resources. It then examines the application of these principles in statutory title regimes in selected Australian jurisdictions, as well as state agreements. The Australian approach to these matters is examined in the international context of legal arrangements in various foreign countries.

Principal topics include:

  • Foundations of natural resources law
  • Property in mineral, petroleum and geothermal energy resources
  • Jurisdiction over mineral, petroleum and geothermal energy resources
  • Statutory titles
  • Government royalties
  • Unit development
  • Production controls
  • Dealings and registration
  • Private royalties
  • Access to land
  • Environmental controls
  • State agreements
  • Greenhouse gas storage
  • Uranium
  • Case study 1: Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (Vic)
  • Case study 2: Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (Cth)
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Understand the law relating to exploration for and production of mineral, petroleum and geothermal energy resources in Australia
  • Be familiar with the statutory regimes governing exploration for and production of mineral, petroleum and geothermal energy resources in selected Australian jurisdictions
  • Be able to apply the relevant law to problems arising in relation to these activities in Australia
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (40%) (27 - 30 May)
  • 5,000 word research paper (60%) (13 July) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Construction Law
Graduate Diploma in Energy and Resources Law
Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Juris Doctor
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Construction Law
Master of Energy and Resources Law
Master of Environmental Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

Download PDF version.