Lakes Oil says it will appeal ‘part’ of the court ruling on Vic gas ban
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Gina Rinehart-backed Lakes Oil has kicked off its appeal after losing a court battle to over-turn Victoria’s gas exploration ban — but it is only appealing “part” of the ruling.
Lakes Oil (ASX:LKO) — which is 11 per cent owned by Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting — has now lodged appeal documents with the Victorian Court of Appeal.
The news doubled the company’s share price to 0.2c, with around 1.1 million shares changing hands by late Monday morning AEDT.
The Victorian Supreme Court in late September rejected Lakes Oil’s claims that the government’s state‐wide moratorium on on‐shore gas exploration was unlawful or ineffective.
Lakes said at the time the judgement would delay the restart of onshore conventional exploration activity in Victoria until mid-2020, when the ban expires.
Chairman Chris Tonkin told Stockhead ahead of the decision — that “it’s likely that we would appeal if it did get to that situation”.
Lakes had been undertaking gas exploration in Victoria prior to the ban, spending more than $80 million in the state.
The company said the court found in its favour on “one important aspect” — quashing illegal variations made to Lakes’ exploration permits and retention leases by the resources minister.
But the court did not accept Lakes’ “interpretation of section 17A(2) of the Petroleum Act 1998”.
The company argued that section 17A(2) “operates to exclude from the moratorium on petroleum exploration those activities which the company is required by the conditions of its permits to carry out”.
“Had Macaulay J accepted the company’s interpretation of section 17A(2), the minister would be prevented from relying on the moratorium as a reason to refuse the company’s applications to carry out the minimum exploration activities required by the conditions of its permits,” Lakes said.
“The company considers that his Honour erred in arriving at his decision that section 17A(2) does not operate as contended by the company.”
The appeal has been served on the Victorian minister for resources and he has until November 30 to respond.