Marathon to sue SA Gov over mining ban

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Marathon Resources has commenced legal action against the South Australian Government over its decision to ban mining at Arkaroola.

Last month former SA Premier Mike Rann introduced laws to permanently ban mining in the region, and said Arkaroola had “extraordinary beauty” that needed protection.

Marathon had spent millions of dollars exploring the region, and the ban wiped off nearly a third of the company’s market value.

On Friday Marathon said it had attempted to negotiate compensation with the Government but no resolution had yet been offered.

“While Marathon will continue to seek a commercial resolution, it believes this will be difficult having regard to the Government’s lack of response to date,” it said.

The company said the Government’s lack of action had left it with “no option but to initiate action”.

Earlier this month Marathon lodged a freedom of information request over the ban.

It said the requests were made in relation to concerns the company had about the way the Government had reached its Arkaroola decision.

Previously the company said it had planned to start a drilling program on its Mount Gee uranium project within weeks of the Government’s annoucement.

In its Friday statement Marathon said the Government’s decision to ban mining in an area subject to existing exploration titles was “unprecedented”.

SA resources minister Tom Koutsantonis said previously the Government would consider offering Marathon compensation.

But earlier in the year the Greens urged the Government not to pay.

They said the company didn’t deserve compensation because it only had a license to explore, not mine, the region.

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