Cauldron Energy has won the right to explore for uranium on Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo pastoral station in the Pilbara.
West Australian Mines Minister Bill Marmion gave the exploration proposal the go-ahead after the mining warden recommended it be rejected in February 2014.
Mining Warden Kevin Tavener said the application for three exploration permits on Minderoo should be rejected because of the company’s low cash position.
It was a decision that reverberated throughout the industry as junior mining companies typically do not have access to deep cash reserves.
However, Marmion determined there was sufficient grounds to allow the proposal to go ahead.
Cauldron said it is now in a very strong financial position to undertake exploration on the licences with cash at bank of $3.0 million and a further $7.47 million in funding due from various investors under placement agreements.
Cauldron executive Chairman Tony Sage said the approval was a hit in the arm for greenfields exploration in WA.
“This decision is not only great news for Cauldron’s investors but also for all those junior explorers who are struggling in the current environment,” Sage said.
“It is a win for our industry since the implications of the Warden’s decision, had it been upheld, would have thrown junior explorers in WA into disarray.
“This has been a long-running and costly legal dispute which has cost the Company much-needed finance on litigation rather than putting valuable shareholder funds into the ground through exploration.
Forrest’s Minderoo expressed its disappointment at the decision.
"Minderoo is disappointed at the minister's decision to allow exploration by Cauldron Energy within the historical and environmentally fragile parts of Minderoo station," a spokesperson said.
"As we have continuously stated on the public record, Minderoo supports development as long as it has no negative impact on the environment, and specifically protects the delicate environment of the Ashburton River."