Thursday, 15 March 2007
A BROUHAHA may be in its developmental stages in the back blocks of Western Australia’s Esperance region as Blackham Resources, Jindalee Resources, Ronin Energy and Wesfarmers Premier Coal all vie for exploration licences over a lignite resource.
In a statement released yesterday, Blackham said it had made applications for exploration licences in the Scaddan lignite project, 60km north of Esperance, on the basis that Wesfarmers, which previously held the tenements, failed to lodge an extension of term application for exploration licences prior to the expiry date of February 19.
However, according to Blackham, Wesfarmers made an application for a mining lease at the project on March 9.
Both Blackham and Jindalee Resources applied separately for the majority of the ground on February 20, over two weeks prior to Wesfarmers’ application.
The plot thickens, since Blackham will also face up against Jindalee in a ballot to decide which company has priority over one of the exploration licences after both companies were deemed to have lodged an application at the same time.
On top of this, privately held company Ronin Energy also lodged an application for a separate exploration licence on February 20, however Blackham believed it had put in its application before Ronin.
Blackham managing director Bryan Dixon told MiningNews.net that in previous situations, junior companies appeared to do more with such tenements rather than the larger companies.
“It says more about their priority,” he said.
“We were the first to apply for 41 prospecting licences and three exploration licences [at the project].
“The first applicant should end up with the tenements.”
Dixon added that companies could lodge an objection by March 27.
The situation rekindles memories of the Rio Tinto-Cazaly dispute over exploration licences at Shovelanna.
In August 2005, Cazaly successfully lodged an exploration licence for Shovelanna after Rio Tinto failed to renew the exploration licence.