Doyles Creek proposal “fraudulant”: ICAC

The Doyles Creek mining proposal submitted to the NSW government incorporated so many false and misleading statements it amounted to fraud, the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry has heard.

The document was designed to persuade the state government to grant a mining exploration licence in 2008 for a training mine in the Hunter Valley, SMH reports.

Former broker Mike Chester has denied deliberately including false information in the submission to the then mining minister Ian Macdonald in support of the licence being granted.

Chester told the ICAC he had a stake in the company which was granted the licence for Doyles Creek, and that he ''made a significant amount of money'' from his involvement in the bid.

But Chester denied making a $1 million windfall off his initial $23,000 investment in Doyles Creek Mining. 

He also rejected claims he lied during his testimony to the commission on Friday, saying instead he had ''improvised''.

Operation Acacia is examining allegations the Doyles Creek exploration licence in the Hunter Valley was granted to former union boss John Maitland and associates without tender because he was Macdonald's friend.

The licence was granted in 2008 and has since been described as a “financial disaster for the people of New South Wales” but a “goldmine” for John Maitland and his backers.

Counsel assisting the commission, Peter Braham, SC, put it to Chester that the submission he had a hand in preparing contained ''material misstatements and falsehoods'' regarding the resource size, the true purpose of the proposed training mine, the financial backing for the project and its expected profitability.

''In each case, you were aware that misleading and false statements to which you were a party would or might improve the chances of the exploration licence being granted at Doyles Creek?'' Braham asked.

To which Chester replied: ''I don't believe that there were any false or misleading statements.''

Braham said ''acting dishonestly in the way I have described, for the purpose I have described, was fraudulent on your part''.

''I don't believe that at all,” Chester said.

Earlier in Monday’s proceedings Braham accused Chester of lying in evidence last week.

Chester agreed the evidence he provided was incorrect, but said it was because he was ''flustered'' and denied trying to mislead the inquiry.

 ''I should have said I don't recall … I improvised,'' he said.

The inquiry continues.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.