Newcrest’s Australia Exploration License Quashed by Court

Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s biggest gold producer, lost its exploration license over 120 square kilometers (30,000 acres) of land near its fourth-largest mine, after a ruling by New South Wales judge.

New South Wales Land and Environment Court Judge Nicola Pain today upheld objections to the renewal of Newcrest’s exploration license from Gold & Copper Resources Pty, ruling the state government failed to provide sufficient reasons for granting the renewal. Newcrest fell 4.7 percent to A$14.87 at the close in Sydney, taking its decline this year to 33 percent.

“There is no evidence on which I can infer that the requisite state of satisfaction” was held by the minister’s delegate in issuing the renewal, Pain wrote.

Newcrest has held an exploration license over the land near its Cadia Valley operations, southwest of Orange, since 1991. The license was renewed for a seventh time on March 14, 2011 with an expiry date of May 20, 2014, according to the judgment. Gold & Copper challenged the renewal on March 16, 2011, claiming it was void or invalid.

The exploration site isn’t material to Newcrest’s mining operations, Kerrina Watson, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a phone interview.

The case is Gold and Copper Resources Pty v Minister for Resources and Energy. 80736/2011. Land and Environment Court New South Wales (Sydney).

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