Two coal companies embroiled in a NSW corruption inquiry have asked the state government not to strike out their mining licences.
In a further attempt to keep it’s Mount Penny and Glendon Brook licences, Cascade Coal has launched a Supreme Court bid to have an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) report annulled.
ICAC recommended last December mining licences for Mount Penny, Doyles Creek and Glendon Brook in NSW be cancelled.
The ICAC recommendation came months after it handed down corruption findings against former Labor MP Eddie Obeid, former mining minister Ian Macdonald and union official John Maitland.coal
Following the findings, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell gave current holders of the mining licences a month to convince the government not to cancel them.
In an open letter to the O’Farrell government, Cascade Coal director John McGuigan criticised a potential move to confiscate the company’s assets.
“This is not Lenin’s Russia or Mao’s China where Lenin and Mao confiscated private property in the name of the state,” Mr McGuigan wrote.
Cascade Coal acknowledged the corrupt findings against Mr Macdonald and Mr Obeid in creating the Mount Penny tenement. But Mr McGuigan said there was no finding the grant of the exploration licences was tainted.
Cascade Coal on Wednesday filed an application for a judicial review of ICAC’s mining report. The company is seeking to have the adverse findings and recommendations annulled.
In a submission to the government, NuCoal Resources has argued “the public interest is best served” in allowing the company to retain it’s Doyles Creek exploration licence.
In the submission, released as an ASX announcement, NuCoal said the mining project would deliver benefits to NSW.
The benefits include 350 jobs and over $2.6 billion in taxes and royalties for the commonwealth and state, NuCoal says.
There is a win-win solution available through proper consultation, NuCoal says.
NuCoal acquired the Doyles Creek licence in 2010 and has previously said it was entitled to assume the licence had been lawfully granted by Mr Macdonald.
The Doyles Creek licence was awarded by him to Mr Maitland and a consortium of investors in 2008, allowing Mr Maitland, a former union heavyweight, to turn his initial $165,000 investment into $15 million.
Greens NSW mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham says no one should benefit from a corruptly granted licence.
“Investors in NuCoal should have done their due diligence and known the risk,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“They should not expect the NSW taxpayer to bail them out of a poor investment decision.”