Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has won a High Court bid to keep sand miners off his family pastoral property in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in a case that may have implications for other mining licences across the State.
Mr Forrest took on the West Australian mining warden after mining licences were granted on land inside Minderoo Station. The licences were granted to junior mining companies Yarri Mining and Onslow Resources, both of which planned to mine for mineral sands in the Ashburton River bed on Mr Forrest's property.
The companies had contracts with concreter Boral to supply the sands for use in the construction phase of Chevron's $30 billion Wheatstone LNG project near Onslow. At the heart of the case was whether the licences were invalid because the key reports from the miners were not lodged at the time of the applications.
Mr Forrest appealed to first to the WA Supreme Court and then to the Court of Appeal, both of which ruled against him. But today the High Court found the reports, including a mineralisation report, were required to be filed at the time of lodgement.
Minderoo Station, which Mr Forrest bought for $12 million in 2009, covers 1.8 million acres near the town of Onslow. Mr Forrest is the founder and chairman of Fortescue Metals Group.