Justice Peter Biscoe made his findings at a special sitting of the court held in Singleton after the Jerrys Plains farmer Ian Moore launched proceedings to prevent NuCoal gaining access to drill three exploration holes on a part of his 184 hectare farm, claiming it would be unsafe.
The Court decision yesterday followed two independent arbitration hearings in 2011 which granted NuCoal access to Moore’s property and is being seen as a test case in the tussle between competing farming and mining interests in the Hunter Valley.
NuCoal’s managing director Glen Lewis said: “In respect of the decision to allow us access, we are pleased that the court has upheld the provisions of the Mining Act that permit a company to conduct legitimate exploration activities.
“We are, in fact, required to undertake these activities as a condition of the exploration licence which has been granted to us by the government of NSW.
“We are disappointed that we could not reach an agreement by negotiation with Mr Moore as successful agreements have been reached with 26 other land owners within the exploration licence area.
“Over the past two years we have successfully drilled and rehabilitated 40 exploration holes without incident or complaint from local landowners, and I am confident we can work with Mr Moore to achieve the same result on his property.
“Meanwhile, we will continue with our exploration activities and environmental assessments.”