NuCoal's fears escalate

NUCOAL Resources chairman Gordon Galt is concerned about the ramifications of a “public interest” test the New South Wales government can use to cancel mining project licences.
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Gordon Galt

Blair Price

In response to the relevant bill, which was introduced into NSW Parliament yesterday, NuCoal noted that it was made before the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s report into coal exploration licences was released.

“We have been told that the final ICAC report in relation to our Doyles Creek asset will be delivered in the near future,” Galt said.

“We don’t know what recommendations will be made in the report but any recommendations should be considered carefully and fully by government.

“Irrespective of what is recommended, we don’t believe that this is possible unless the government engages with NuCoal.”

While the ICAC report was sanctioned due to earlier coal-related corruption findings against Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald, former mining union leader and Doyles Creek Mining chairman John Maitland, as well as other associates, NuCoal remained in the dark about possible government intentions.

“The facts are that NuCoal was not investigated by ICAC and no findings were made against the company or its current directors,” Galt said.

“Even so, NuCoal has suffered very severe and ongoing damage over the past two years.

“We believe that guilty parties should be pursued via appropriate legal processes and that the rights of innocent parties like ourselves should be protected.

“Accordingly, in the interests of fairness and natural justice for NuCoal and its 3400 shareholders and in the context of the wider public interest for the people of NSW, we believe the government should consult with NuCoal before formulating any response to the final ICAC report.

“This has been our position all along and we urge the government not [to] rush to any decisions about the future of the Doyles Creek project without such a process occurring.”

NuCoal applied for a renewal for the longwall project’s EL 7270 tenement a year ago.

In its September quarterly NuCoal gave the government a deadline of January 31 before it would start filing proceedings to the Land and Environment Court to force the mining minister to determine the renewal application.