Mining magnate fails to stop mining on his land

Image: ABC - Lucie Bell

Andrew Forrest has failed in his bid to halt mining on his Pilbara family farm.

This is just the latest development in the long running battle between Fortescue Metal’s Forrest and junior miners exploring for uranium and planning sand mining on his property.

Forrest has been fighting sand mining on his Minderoo property since 2013, after Onslow Resources and Yarri Mining planned exploration and mining along the Ashburton River, which runs through Forrest’s station.

He has also previously gone head to head with fellow WA mining magnate Tony Sage, who was attempting to explore for uranium at the station.

Minderoo is a Forrest family property established in 1878 by his great, great uncle, Sir John Forrest, who was also the first premier of Western Australia, and his brothers Alexander and David.

Forrest previously worked as a jackaroo on the property, but it was sold in 1998 to pay off debts, after which he subsequently bought it back in 2009 for a reported $12 million.

Since this time he has fought off more than six applications for mining on the property.

In terms of Yarri, Forrest has put a number of development conditions forward for sand mining on his property, which the West Australian Warden’s Court have described as ‘outrageous’, and suggested he was seeking “dictatorial power”.

One of the proposed conditions was the implementation of a performance guarantee by Yarri Mining of at least $200,000.

Yarri Mining plans to use the sand mined from the property in the construction of natural gas projects being developed by BHP and Chevron.

“The proposed condition appears to be an attempt to create some form of dictatorial power that allows it to act as the investigator, prosecutor, judge and enforcer of the provisions of the Mining Act when it has no power to do so,” the warden said.

Forrest’s private company Forrest & Forrest argued against the sand mining application, saying machinery noise may scare cattle on the 226,000-hectare property, and most recently claimed Yarri has failed to lodge any of its applications correctly.

According to the ruling Yarri proposes to use about 140 hectares for sand production, about 0.06 per cent of the total area of Mindaroo.

Now Forrest has lost his latest battle to halt Yarri’s application, with the WA Court of Appeal dismissing his appeal against earlier government decisions to grant Yarri the tenements, the West Australian reports.

The final decision for granting of mining licences rests with WA mines minster Sean L’Estrange, once native title negotiations are complete.

 

Image: ABC – Lucie Bell

 

 

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