NuCoal Resources have suffered another blow after their case against the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The troubled coal miner applied to the court to strike down an ICAC report which described the Doyle’s Creek exploration licence as “so tainted by corruption” that it had to be revoked.
Justice Stephen Rothman rejected suggestions that ICAC had not given proper consideration to reasons given for keeping the exploration licence, and told the court the case was futile as laws had already been passed in parliament which revoked the licence without compensation.
NuCoal has left the door open for appeal, with chairman Gordon Galt saying the company would continue to focus on its “pursuit of justice under various free trade agreements”.
“While the ICAC made no findings of wrongdoing by the company or any of its current directors we wanted the opportunity to have a Judicial Review of the findings made in ICAC’s December 2013 report,” he said.
“We will review Justice Rothman’s findings in more detail before considering whether or not to appeal.”
The ICAC investigation found that the exploration licence was corruptly awarded to Doyles Creek Mining in 2008 by former NSW mining minister Ian MacDonald.
NuCoal argued that they had not been involved with the initial stages of the exploration licence, having bought 100 per cent of shares in Doyles Creek in 2010.
The ICAC report in December 2013 said: “A change in shareholding in a company should not immunise the company from the consequences of its improper conduct or that of its directors”.
Newcastle Herald reported that Doyles Creek directors Mike Chester and Andrew Poole joined the board of NuCoal after the sale.
Despite the fact that both were found to be corrupt in their part of the granting of the licence, no charges were laid.