A win and a loss for Twiggy in epic court battles against junior miners
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It was a bittersweet day in the courts yesterday for mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest with his private company winning — and losing — separate court battles against resource minnows seeking to explore around his cattle station in the Pilbara.
In what has been an epic courtroom saga spanning five years, uranium minnow Cauldron Energy (ASX:CXU) was successful in its legal stoush over an application for three uranium exploration licences on and adjacent to Mr Forrest’s Minderoo pastoral property near Onslow.
The courtroom saga with Mr Forrest dates back to April 2012, when the Tony Sage-led company initially lodged for the exploration licences.
Things took a turn for the worse for Cauldron after the Mining Warden refused the applications on grounds Cauldron did not have the money to undertake exploration on the licences.
However, the saga didn’t end there with then-WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion deciding not to accept the Warden’s recommendation to refuse Cauldron’s applications.
Forrest then applied to the WA Supreme Court for judicial review of Mr Marmion’s decision arguing he shouldn’t have allowed the applications to proceed through the determination process.
However, the Supreme Court dismissed the application resulting in Mr Forrest appealing the decision in the WA Court of Appeal.
Cauldron announced yesterday that, in a unanimous decision, the WA Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Forrest’s appeal and ordered he pay Cauldron’s legal costs.
The licences were initially targeted by Cauldron as they are near its Yanrey uranium project.
Meanwhile, privately-owned Yarri Mining and Onslow Resources didn’t fare so well in their attempt to apply for sand mining leases near Mr Forrest’s cattle station.
The applications were made in 2010 and sought to mine sand from areas around the Ashburton River near the cattle station.
Mr Forrest argued that Yarri was in breach of the Mining Act as its applications were not accompanied by either a mining proposal or a mineralisation report as required under the act.
The WA Court of Appeal at the time threw out Mr Forrest’s appeal against earlier decisions by the Mining Warden to recommend then Mines Minister grant the tenements.
However, the High Court ruled in favour of Mr Forrest because at the time of application, Yarri should have lodged mining proposal or a mineralisation report and therefore was not fully compliant with the Mining Act.
Shares in Cauldron closed Thursday trading unchanged at 5.3c.