Mark Geritz's experience in energy and resources law, project development, native title and cultural heritage legal issues has seen him recognised as one of Australia's top energy and resources and native title lawyers, and recently named by peers as Lawyer of the Year for both Mining Law and Native Title Law. 

Mark is the go-to energy and resources and native title lawyer for both private and public enterprises, having acted on many of Australia's and the world's largest energy and resources and infrastructure projects.

In the last five years, Mark has acted on the largest coal project in Australia both for Adani and the Queensland Government (Adani's Carmichael Project), the largest CSG to LNG project in Australia (Australia Pacific LNG Project) and overseen the largest native title settlement in Australia (South West Settlement in Western Australia). Mark has also run the largest mining lease objection proceedings in Australian mining history, the Acland Land Court proceedings. 

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Energy and Resources

Australia Pacific LNG Project (Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec): Mark acted in the development of this CSG to LNG project (largest such project in the world) which involved gas field development, construction of a pipeline (in excess of 500km) from the gas fields to Curtis Island and construction of a LNG plant on Curtis island and construction of ancillary onshore and marine facilities. Mark was the primary adviser on all petroleum regulatory, land access and native title and cultural heritage issues, strategic advice, government liaison, overlapping tenure issues and issues dealing with adjacent gas tenures and cross border infrastructure.

Adani Carmichael Coal and Rail Project and Abbot Point expansion (largest coal project in Australia): Mark has provided strategic advice on mining lease applications, environmental processes (State and Federal), Land Court proceedings, landowner agreements and land acquisition, make good agreements, overlapping tenure issues, and general regulatory approval processes. He has also undertaken extensive native title extinguishment analysis for the site of the mine, the route of the proposed railway and the port expansion, as well as advising on (and drafting all documents for) the conduct of multiple native title and cultural heritage negotiation processes in parallel with a number of different native title groups. Mark also ran a successful native title arbitration that resulted in a decision that the main project mining lease be granted without any conditions relating to native title.

New Hope: Mark has advised New Hope on all stages of the New Acland, Oakleigh and Minerva Coal Projects. Mark is currently acting for New Hope on the expansion of its New Acland mine (Stage 3) which has involved the largest mining lease objection proceedings in Australian mining history, having previously acted on Stages 1 and 2. Mark also acted on the development of the Oakleigh and Minerva Coal Projects including Land and Resources Tribunal (now Land Court) proceedings.

Vale: Mark has been Vale's primary adviser on mining regulatory issues, access issues, overlapping and adjacent petroleum tenure issues and has acted on the development of the Belvedere, Ellensfield and Eagle Downs projects and operational issues at the Carborough Downs, Broadlea and Isaac Plains Projects.

Wesfarmers Curragh Coal Project: Mark has been Wesfarmer's primary legal adviser on mining regulatory issues in Queensland for 15 years, including a period on secondment for nine months during the development of the Curragh North Project. Mark has recently advised on the Curragh West and Curragh expansion projects.

Origin Energy: Mark has been Origin Energy's primary legal adviser on petroleum regulatory issues, land access and compensation and native title for more than 15 years. This also included acting in the first major petroleum landowner compensation proceedings resulting in a successful judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Meteor Downs South Project: Mark has provided all mining regulatory advice and undertook successful Land Court proceedings against Glencore relating to the development of this project for U&D Mining.

Ensham Central Coal Project: Mark acted for Ensham Resources in the development of the Ensham Central Coal Project. This included developing strategies for dealing with landowners where there were unique flooding issues.

Peabody Burton and North Goonyella Expansion Projects: Mark acted for Peabody Energy (and its predecessors) on all project development matters for the extension of the Burton Coal Project and expansion of North Goonyella. This included landowner and government negotiations, obtaining of all approvals, and, in the Burton expansion project, advising on the first significant native title compensation case.

MMG Dugald River Project: Mark's work on this project included approvals strategy, landowner access and compensation issues, dealing with a range of infrastructure approvals and proceedings in the Land Court in relation to an objection to a proposed mining lease and environmental authority.

Meandu and Kunioon Coal Projects: Mark has provided Stanwell with regulatory, land access, native title and compensation advice and drafted all relevant documentation associated with the development of the Meandu and Kunioon Coal Projects.  This has recently included resolving complex groundwater issues through a series of make good agreements for the Meandu extension project.

Byerwen, Drake and Jax Coal Projects: Mark acted on various aspects of the project development for these projects for QCoal including mining lease applications, land access, compensation and native title issues.

Condamine Power Station Project: Mark helped Queensland Gas Company (now Shell) in developing the Condamine Power Station by drafting all operational documentation and advising it on the required approvals.

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Native Title

Australia Pacific LNG Project: Mark acted in relation to all native title and cultural heritage issues and documentation associated with the development of this project. This involved the preparation of 9 Cultural Heritage Management Plans, 6 ILUAs and 4 agreements under s 31(1)(b) of the Native Title Act as well as advice on alternative compulsory acquisition processes for the native title if agreements could not be reached. Mark also assisted in the obtaining of 3 "Part 5 permissions" under the petroleum legislation relating to native title issues.

Adani Carmichael Coal and Rail Project: This project has thrown up some complex native title issues for the client. Mark's work has included:

  • conducting an extensive native title extinguishment analysis for the site of the coal mine, the route of the proposed railway and the port expansion;
  • advising on (and drafting all documents for) multiple, parallel, native title and cultural heritage negotiation processes with a number of different native title groups (both registered and unregistered); and
  • undertaking successful arbitration in the National Native Title Tribunal relating to good faith negotiations and the substantive matter as to whether the mining lease should be granted from a native title perspective.

South West Settlement: Mark was hand-picked by South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council to act in the largest native title settlement ever in Australia based on his extensive experience in negotiating Indigenous Land Use Agreements.. This settlement includes the Western Australian State Government providing more than $1.3 billion in benefits to the Noongar people. The work has included complex structuring advice for the settlement, drafting  six Indigenous Land Use Agreements to implement it and has included various Federal Court and High Court proceedings on a number of ground breaking issues.

NEGI: Mark is the native title adviser to the Northern Territory Government for the AU$800 million North East Gas Interconnector (NEGI) project. The pipeline will run between Tennant Creek in the NT and Mount Isa in Queensland, delivering gas from the NT to eastern gas markets. This is a significant project both for the NT and the Australian economies.

ARTC Inland Rail: the Inland Rail Project is a new fast speed freight rail connection to be built between Melbourne and Brisbane.  Mark is advising Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) on all native title and Aboriginal heritage issues related to the development of the project and drafting all relevant documentation.

QCoal Drake and Byerwen Coal Projects: Mark acted in a complex "right to negotiate" process related to the proposed grant of six mining leases for the projects. This involved a lengthy negotiation process leading ultimately to referral of the matter to the National Native Title Tribunal, which made a good faith determination and a subsequent determination that the six mining leases could be granted without any conditions relating to native title.

Wesfarmers Curragh Project: Mark has advised Wesfarmers on all native title and cultural heritage issues associated with the development of the Curragh, Curragh West and Curragh expansion projects.

Commonwealth Games Parkland Village, Clem 7, Airport Link, Northern Busway, Legacy Way, Water for Bowen, Glebe Weir, Lower Fitzroy, Nathan Dam, Eden Bann, Rookwood, and Burdekin Falls Dam Projects, Western Corridor Recycled Water Project, the Towns Water Supply Project, the Tank Street Bridge Project Projects: Mark has acted for Brisbane City Council, Coordinator-General and various Government departments and Government owned corporations, providing Native Title and Cultural Heritage advice and drafting a range of native title and cultural heritage agreements.

Queen's Wharf Casino Development: Mark is acting for the consortium developing the Queen's Wharf Casino with respect to all Aboriginal heritage issues.

Abbot Point port expansion project: Mark acted for the Queensland Government in drafting a multi-party Indigenous land use agreement (including a cultural heritage protocol) for the expansion of the Abbot Point port.

Toowoomba Second Range Crossing: Mark is acting for the Department of Transport and Main Roads in relation to project delivery, on all native title and cultural heritage issues arising on the Project.

Kunioon and Meandu Coal Projects: Mark developed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and numerous Cultural Heritage Agreements for Stanwell's (formerly Tarong Energy) Kunioon Coal Project and has also provided native title and Aboriginal heritage advice and documentation for the Meandu and Meandu expansion projects.

Origin Energy: Mark helped Origin Energy develop an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and obtain the first Part 5 permissions under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 for its Darling Downs Power Station project, which included pipeline development.

Peabody – Burton Coal Expansion Project: Mark acted for Burton Coal Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of RAG Australia Coal Pty Ltd and now Peabody Energy Australia Coal Pty Ltd) during the extension of the Burton Coal Project. This included all native title and cultural heritage issues such as negotiating and drafting CHIMA, section 31 agreement and Indigenous Land Use Agreement, and issuing one of the first notices under the Queensland Alternative State Provisions Regime (the alternative to the Commonwealth Right to Negotiate Process). He also conducted arbitration and compensation proceedings in the Land and Resources Tribunal (now Land Court).

SEWPAC: Mark advised the Commonwealth Government on native title issues associated with its proposed nomination of parts of Cape York for the World Heritage Listing, including a possible alternative procedure Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Native Title and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Agreements generally: Mark drafts and advises on Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs), section 31 (right to negotiate) ancillary agreements and Cultural Heritage Management Plans for various other mining, petroleum, power, water, power and pipeline projects, including for Origin Energy, Vale, Stanwell, CS Energy, Queensland Gas Company (now Shell), Cement Australia, SunWater and Seqwater.

Department of Infrastructure and Planning – Hancock Coal Project: Mark advised the Department of Infrastructure and Planning on various aspects of the Hancock Coal and Rail Project including with respect to relevant native title agreements.

Mt Etna Mine Closure Project: Mark drafted an Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Mt Etna Mine Closure Project for Cement Australia to allow for the conversion of unallocated State land to freehold and National Park.

Pisolite Hills and Bauxite Hills Project: Mark acted for Cape Alumina in relation to the development of its highly publicised Pisolite Hills Project in Cape York.  

See Native Title

Knowledge

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