Court of Appeal

Qld Cooper Shale Pty Ltd & Ors v Minister for Natural Resources and Mines [2016] QCA 352 (16/839) Margaret McMurdo P and Philippides JA and Henry J 23 December 2016

Full-text: QCA16-352.pdf

Catchwords

ENERGY AND RESOURCES – MINERALS – GENERALLY – DEFINITIONS – OTHER CASES – where the appellants sought exploration permits for “oil shale” under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) – where the respondent refused the applications for the exploration permits – where the appellants made applications for judicial review of the decisions to refuse to grant the exploration permits –whether the definition of “oil shale” in s 318AD of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) applied to the entirety of that Act – whether s 318AD of the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) incorporates the term “gasification or retorting product” as defined in s 10(1)(c) of the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) – whether that imports the definition of “petroleum” in s 10(1) of that Act in to the definition of “mineral” in the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld)

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – ERROR OF LAW – where the appellants sought exploration permits for “oil shale” under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) – where the respondent refused the applications for the exploration permits – where the appellants made applications for judicial review of the decisions to refuse to grant the exploration permits – where one of the grounds of review alleged was that the decision-maker made an error of law – where the appellants submitted that the appellant had made an error of law in considering that “fracking” did not fall within the definition of “chemical process” within s 10 of the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) – where the decision-maker’s conclusion was based on technical advice which indicated that oil shale could not, as a matter of geology, exist in the relevant areas and that the kind of activities that the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) might authorise were a physical impossibility – whether the decision-maker was permitted by the statutory regime to seek satisfaction as to the mineral actually being targeted by the appellants – whether the definition of petroleum in s 10(1) of the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) was imported into the MRA – whether it was necessary to consider the proper characterisation of “fracking” – whether the decision-maker made an error of law

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – JUDICIAL REVIEW – GROUNDS OF REVIEW – IRRELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS – where the appellants sought exploration permits for “oil shale” under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) – where the respondent refused the applications for the exploration permits – where the appellants made applications for judicial review of the decisions to refuse to grant the exploration permits – where one of the grounds of review alleged was that the decision-maker took into account an irrelevant consideration – where the decision-maker considered that the appellants had not provided sufficient geological information to support the existence of “oil shale” as defined in the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) in the target area – where the appellants contended that the decision-maker’s view that there was insufficient evidence to establish the existence of oil shale was an irrelevant consideration in that it required one to demonstrate “oil shale” exists in order to determine whether “oil shale” exists – whether the decision-maker was entitled to seek satisfaction that what the appellants were targeting was a mineral for the purpose of exploration under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) – whether the decision-maker took an irrelevant consideration into account