Profile of Ben Zillmann

Ben Zillmann

Partner, BBus LLB (Hons)

About Ben Zillmann

Ben's primary areas of expertise are in the energy, resources and native title fields. He has practiced in these areas for approximately 25 years.

Ben has many years of experience in dealing with the full spectrum of issues that arise in respect of energy and resources projects. His clients range from listed multinational resources companies to privately owned locally based companies, and include clients that operate across various industry sectors including coal, precious metals, base metals and oil/gas.

As a sector specialist, Ben is regularly involved in advising clients on the acquisition and disposal of assets/projects in the resources sector where he is abreast of not only the issues that arise in any such commercial transaction, but also the industry specific issues and risks that require consideration and allocation under transaction documents. Ben also advises clients in relation to incorporated and unincorporated joint ventures, farm-in agreements, subleases of tenements, tolling agreements, co-development agreements and a range of other commercial arrangements parties may put in place to facilitate the development and operation of resource projects.

Ben regularly advises clients in the resources sector on project approvals for greenfield projects, brownfield expansions and other similar approvals required to permit project development and operation. This includes advice on applying for and obtaining mining leases and concessions, negotiating and drafting land access and compensation arrangements, liaising with relevant government departments and regulators, addressing overlapping and adjoining tenement issues with other resource proponents, and advising on State agreements. He also provides advice to existing project owners and operators on regulatory issues and compliance.

He is experienced in representing resource approval applicants in court proceedings involving objections to the approval grants, and has successfully represented clients in several leading cases in this area. This has included acting for coal mining companies in several leading cases responding to climate change based objections.

To compliment these areas of expertise, Ben is also experienced in advising clients on a range of  agreements associated with such projects including rail and port agreements, gas sale and transportation agreements, mineral sale agreements, and water sale and transportation agreements.

In addition to his energy and resources area of practice, Ben is also regarded as one of Australia's leading native title lawyers and he leads Allens native title practice group. He has advised  clients not only in the energy and resources sector but also in other sectors (including government, water, infrastructure, property and tourism sectors)  on native title and cultural heritage issues. This advice covers all issues that arise in this field including:

  • the negotiation and drafting of native title agreements and cultural heritage management plans for significant resources and infrastructure projects;
  • strategic advice on native title approval pathways, options and risks; and
  • representing clients in native title disputes and claims before a range of courts and tribunals, including the National Native Title Tribunal, the Queensland Land Court, and the Federal Court.

Ben is recognised as a preeminent lawyer in Doyle's Leading Energy & Recourses Lawyers – Queensland in 2018 and 2019 and was ranked 'Mining Lawyer of the Year – Brisbane' by Best Lawyers in 2019. Ben has also been recognised as a 'band 1' leading Native Title lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific from 2011-2020.

Ben is a former National President of the Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association (AMPLA), and remains an active contributor to that association, as well as having active roles on Queensland Resources Council committees and the Queensland Law Society Mining and Resources Law Committee.

Ben has been trained formally in Legal Project Management and Ben's LPM expertise drives efficient legal and business outcomes for his clients.