A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly

THE Shovelanna stoush between iron ore major Rio Tinto and fleet-footed junior Cazaly Resources is set to be decided by a West Australian state minister, for only the second time in close to 20 years.
A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly A rare case - Rio vs. Cazaly


Ben Sharples

Under section 111A of the Mining Act 1978, the minister for state development has the power to summarily refuse certain applications for a mining tenement. In 1986, the minister was called in to use his discretionary power in relation to the Paddington gold mine near Kalgoorlie.

A prospector pegged land immediately after midnight on the last day of the term of a lease in the middle of the operating Paddington gold mine and applied for a mining tenement over the land.

In this case, the ongoing employment of more than 100 employees was at risk and the mining company appealed to the then minister it should not be deprived of tenure to the ground. Enabling legislation was enacted and the lease was retrospectively reinstated.

The process in which the minister will come to a decision runs like this.

Rio and Cazaly are given 21-30 days (which can be extended) to make a submission stating their cases. Then each party is given up to 30 days to respond to each other’s submission. The Department of Industry and Resources then collates the submissions and responses and hands them to the minister for his decision.

Rio Tinto and Cazaly have lodged their submissions but are yet to make their responses. As for the timing of a decision, a DOIR spokesman told MiningNews.net due to the complexity of the case, “it could be several months before the submissions are forwarded to the minister for his determination”

Cazaly made an application for the Shovelanna exploration licence on August 29 after the previous licence holders, Hamersley Iron [50%], Hancock Prospecting [25%] and Wright Prospecting [25%] allowed the licence to lapse on August 26. Hancock Prospecting has also lodged an objection.