KEY TERMS I - M

 

Words and terms can have very specific meanings in relation to mineral and petroleum exploration or production and may be new to you. This section explains some of the key terms you might come across when considering a mineral or petroleum proposal in your area or when negotiating a land access arrangement with an explorer.

 
Improvement

See ‘Significant Improvement‘.

Incidental water

Is water that is taken by an aquifer interference activity (See ‘Aquifer Interference Activity’) that is incidental to the activity; including water that is encountered within and extracted from mine workings, tunnels, basements or other aquifer interference structures that must be dewatered to maintain access, serviceability and/or safe operating conditions. This water is not actually required to be used as part of the process of carrying out that activity.

Joint Regional Planning Panel

Applications for major proposed developments (more than $10 million) in a council area are considered and approved or rejected at ‘arms-length’ from the council by the Joint Regional Planning Panel. A Joint Regional Planning Panel consists of five members, three of who are appointed by the NSW Government, the other two of who are local government representatives.

 

Joule

Is a unit of energy which is defined as the work done when the point of application of a force of one Newton moves through a distance of one metre in the direction of the force.[i]

 

See also ‘Petajoule’.

 

Land Access

Can be given by you to a mining or petroleum company when you enter a Land Access Arrangement with the company. This allows the mining or petroleum company to enter your land for a specific purpose, such as exploration activities.

 

Land Access Arrangement

Is a binding contract between you and an explorer which gives permission for the operator to enter your land for a certain purpose. Amongst other things, a Land Access Arrangement will determine when, where and how the operator will access your land.

 

Land and Environment Court

Is a division of the Supreme Court of NSW. There are a range of matters the Land and Environment Court can hear. 

 

The Land and Environment Court can:

  • review certain development decisions (such as decisions to approve mining or coal seam gas activities);

  • review arbitrated arrangements on land access for mining or petroleum exploration;

  • enforce environmental laws or prevent a breach of environmental law;

  • assess compensation where a ‘compensable loss’ has been suffered due to exploration, mining or production activities; and

  • hear other disputes with mining or coal seam gas companies.            

 

Land and Water Commissioner

Is appointed by the NSW Government to ‘build community confidence in the processes governing (mining and petroleum) exploration activities in NSW and to oversee land access arrangements between landholders and miners’.

 

Landholder

‘Landholder’ is defined in the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 as:

  • the owner of an estate in fee simple in the land

  • a native title holder of the land

  • the holder of a lease or licence granted under the Crown Lands Act 1989 over the land, or

  • the holder of a tenure referred to in Part 1 or 2 of Schedule 1 to the Crown Lands (Continued Tenures) Act 1989 in the land, or

  • the holder of a permissive occupancy granted over the land, or

  • the holder of a lease granted under the Western Lands Act 1901 over the land

  • a person identified in any register or record kept by the Registrar-General as a person having an interest in the land

  • a mortgagee in possession of the land

  • a lessee of the land or other person entitled to an exclusive right of occupation of the land

  • a Minister or public authority having the benefit of a covenant affecting the land that is imposed by a Minister on behalf of the Crown under the Crown Lands Act 1989

  • a Minister or public authority having an interest in the land under a conservation, natural heritage or bio-banking agreement.

 

Is defined in the Mining Act 1992 as:

 

In relation to reserved land, the controlling body of that land, or, in relation to any other land:

  • the owner of an estate in fee simple in the land, or

  • a native title holder of the land, or

  • the holder of a lease or licence granted under the Crown Lands Act 1989 over the land, or

  • the holder of a tenure referred to in Part 1 or 2 of Schedule 1 to the Crown Lands (Continued Tenures) Act 1989 in the land, or

  • the holder of a permissive occupancy granted over the land, or

  • the holder of a lease granted under the Western Lands Act 1901 over the land, or

  • a person identified in any register or record kept by the Registrar-General as a person having an interest in the land, being:

  • a mortgagee in possession of the land, or

  • a lessee of the land or other person entitled to an exclusive right of occupation of the land, or

  • a Minister or public authority having the benefit of a covenant affecting the land that is imposed by a Minister on behalf of the Crown under the Crown Lands Act 1989, or

  • a Minister or public authority having an interest in the land under a conservation, natural heritage or biobanking agreement, or

  • a person prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph, or

  • a person identified in any register or record kept by the Registrar-General as a person having an interest in the land, other than a person to whom (the above) paragraph applies, but only in a provision of this Act in which a reference to a landholder is expressed to include a secondary landholder, or a person of a class prescribed by or determined in accordance with the regulations to be landholders for the purposes of this definition,

  • but does not include a person of a class prescribed as outside the scope of this definition.

 

See also ‘Secondary Landholder’.

 
Lateral Drilling

See ‘Horizontal Drilling’.

 

Lignite

Is the lowest rank (or lowest quality) of coal and is otherwise known as brown coal. Lignite contains 45% moisture and the heat content varies from 9 to 17 million Btu (see ‘British Thermal Unit’) per tonne (.907 tonne).  Brown coal is burned in power stations to producer electricity.225

 

Liquefaction

The process of converting coal into a liquid fuel225.
 

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Is gas which has been converted to liquid form (basically through a process of cooling the gas) for ease of storage and transport. Liquefied Natural Gas takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in its gaseous state.

 

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

See ‘Liquefied Natural Gas’.

 

LNG

See ‘Liquefied Natural Gas’.

 

Local Environmental Plan

Defines the land use zoning and development status of all sites within a local government (or council) area.

A Local Environmental Plan is the principal statutory instrument regulating land use and development, it states the objectives of each zone and lists uses which are prohibited, permitted with consent, or permissible without consent[ii]. Recently all local governments in NSW have been required to review their Local Environmental Plan to conform to a state-wide template.

 

Local Government Area

The land area over which a council has jurisdiction. For example, the Kyogle Council in the north of the State has jurisdiction over the Kyogle Local Government Area.

 

Longwall mining

Is a form of underground coal mining where a long wall of coal is mined in a single slice (typically 0.6–1.0m thick). The longwall panel (the block of coal that is being mined) is typically 3–4 km long and 250–400m wide.

 

Low emissions coal technologies

Low emissions coal technologies refer to technologies that are designed to increase the energy efficiency and improve the environmental performance of burning coal to produce electricity. These technologies aim to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), and their associated environmental impacts, as well as reduce waste from the process in coal extraction, preparation and utilisation. They vary in design and the stage of development, from early research and development to commercial application. When used in combination with techniques to clean carbon from greenhouse gas emissions for safe and permanent storage (Carbon Capture and Storage), these technologies can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas powered electricity generation, as well as industrial processes.[iii]

 

LPG

See ‘Liquefied Natural Gas’.

 

MC

See ‘Mineral Claim‘.

 

Metallic Minerals

Are those minerals which can be melted to obtain new products. Iron, cooper, bauxite, tin, manganese are some examples of metallic minerals. These are generally associated with igneous rocks, are usually hard and have shines or lustre of their own. They are ductile and malleable and when hit they do not break.[iv]

 

See also ‘Mineral’ and ‘Non-Metallic Minerals’.

 

Metallurgical Coal

This is the coal used in metallurgical (steelmaking) processes.  The main metallurgical coals are coking coal and PCI (pulverisation coal injection) coals.225

 

Methane

Is a gas which is a chemical compound comprising one atom of carbon bound to four hydrogen atoms which has the formula CH4. It is the main component of natural gas and is burned to produce electricity and heat. Coal Seam Gas is mostly methane. Unburned, methane is a greenhouse gas.

 

Mineral

A mineral is an element or a chemical compound that are normally crystalline and that have been formed as a result of geological processes.

 

The Mining Act 1992 applies to the following minerals: agate, antimony, apatite, arsenic, asbestos, barite, bauxite, bentonite (including fuller’s earth), beryllium minerals, bismuth, borates, cadmium, caesium, calcite, chalcedony, chert, chlorite, chromite, clay/shale, coal, cobalt, columbium, copper, corundum, cryolite, diamond, diatomite, dimension stone, dolomite, emerald, emery, feldspathic material, fluorite, galena, garnet, geothermal energy, germanium, gold, graphite, gypsum, halite (including solar salt), ilmenite, indium, iron minerals, jade, kaolin, lead, leucoxene, limestone, lithium, magnesite, magnesium salts, manganese, marble, marine aggregate, mercury, mica, mineral pigments, molybdenite, monazite, nephrite, nickel, niobium, oil shale, olivine, opal, ores of silicon, peat, perlite, phosphates, platinum group minerals, platinum, potassium minerals, potassium salts, pyrophyllite, quartz crystal, quartzite, rare earth minerals, reef quartz, rhodonite, rubidium, ruby, rutile, sapphire, scandium and its ores, selenium, serpentine, sillimanite group minerals, silver, sodium salts, staurolite, strontium minerals, structural clay, sulphur, talc, tantalum, thorium, tin, topaz, tourmaline, tungsten and its ores, turquoise, vanadium, vermiculite, wollastonite, zeolites, zinc, zircon, zirconia.

 

Mineral Claim

Are titles that allow the claim holder to prospect and mine for the mineral or minerals to which a Mineral Claim District has been proclaimed including opals. Mineral Claims are smaller in size than opal prospecting licences (they cannot have an area of more than 2 hectares) as they are typically used for mining identified localised deposits.

 

Mineral Claims can only be granted within Mineral Claims Districts.[v] There are currently only two Mineral Claims Districts in NSW, one in Lightning Ridge and one in White Cliffs. 

 

Mineral Claim District

See ‘Mineral Claim‘.

 

Mineral Exploration Licence (EL)

Gives an explorer the exclusive right to prospect for minerals in the area. Upon commencement of the new Act, coal and mineral Exploration Licences can be granted for a maximum of six years. Providing that the licence holder meets all of the requirements of an EL, the renewal term can also be renewed up to a maximum of six years.

 

Mineral Sands

Are a class of ore deposit which is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare earth elements, the industrial minerals, diamond, sapphire, garnet, and occasionally precious metals or gemstones.Error! Bookmark not defined.

 

Minerals Council of Australia

Is an industry organisation which represents minerals explorers and mining companies in Australia. See: www.minerals.org.au

See also ‘NSW Minerals Council’.

 

Mining

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, vein or coal seam. Any material that cannot be grown and harvested through agricultural processes (such as farming or forestry), or created artificially in a laboratory or factory, is usually mined. Materials recovered by mining include metals, ranging from base metals (such as iron and lead) to precious metals (such as gold and silver) to uranium, as well as coal, gemstones, limestone, marble, oil shale, rock salt, guano and potash.

 
Mining and Coal Seam Gas Communications Project

Is a NSW Farmers’ Association project which is funded by the NSW Government. The project aims to improve the capacity of farmers across NSW to negotiate with mining and petroleum companies seeking access to their land, and raise awareness of the NSW Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy package and how that will apply to mining and gas developments in their area.

 

Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel

An independent panel with expertise in agricultural science, hydrogeology and mining/petroleum development, responsible for assessing state significant mining and petroleum proposals on Strategic Agricultural Land during the Gateway Process.

 

See also ‘Gateway Process’.

 
Mining and Petroleum Gateway Process

Is an additional step in the state planning process for mining and petroleum proposals on ‘strategic agricultural land’. During the Gateway Process the Gateway Panel assesses the impact of the proposal on the land and water. At the end of the Gateway Process the panel will issue a Gateway Certificate which can include conditions which must be considered at the Development Application stage.

 

Mining Assessment Lease

Gives a person a right to prospect and assess any mineral deposit on the land. Designed to allow the leaseholder to retain their rights over an area where a significant mineral deposit has been found but it is not commercially viable in the short term until further assessment has been carried out.

 

Mining Lease (ML)

A mining lease gives the holder of a mining lease the exclusive right to mine for minerals in the lease area. In NSW, Mining Leases are granted under the Mining Act 1992. To apply for a mining lease the applicant has to demonstrate that they have the financial resources and technical qualifications to undertake mining operations. A development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) must also be granted before the mining project can proceed. Mining leases can be granted for up to 21 years.

 

 

[i]        Macquarie Dictionary.

[ii]      Neustin Urban Glossary.

[iii]      NSW Government, NSW Trade and Investment Division of Resources and Energy.

[iv]      www.preservearticles.com, Difference between Metallic Minerals and Non-Metallic Minerals.

[v]      Mining Act 1992 (NSW) s 180.

 

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