Calls have been for an external review into the transparency of coal exploration licences in New South Wales.
On the back of this, a review has been ordered by the Department of Premier and Cabinet after concern was raised following a decision to grant an exploration permit in the upper Hunter to Doyles Creek Mining.
The coal mining company was established by former union head John Maitland to train miners.
The permits were granted by disgraced former minerals minister Ian Macdonald.
Auditors of the approval, O’Connor Marsden, said Macdonald was within his rights to grant the permit, but recommended that future coal exploration with the potential to generate more than 100 million tonnes should instead be put through a competitive process.
However, for allocations under 100 million tonnes, an exploration title shall be gazetted and published in national newspapers.