$7M Mistake

1 May 2024

Costly Consequences: Mining Law Missteps lead to $7M Mistake

Mining companies operate in a complex legal landscape, adherence to regulations is crucial for success. Disregard or ignorance of mining laws can result in substantial financial setbacks.

Let’s delve into the oversights of a specific case and the subsequent consequences.

In the case of Focus Minerals Ltd & Others v Allan Neville Brosnan & Others [2020] WAMW 4, the reliability of the company’s expenditure reporting system came into question.

In the words of the Warden, Focus (Focus Minerals Ltd) relied on an inadequate accounting system to calculate expenditure for inclusion in their Form 5s. Focus v Brosnan & Ors

The Warden stated that the tenement manager was given inaccurate information by their accounts department. Specifically, they failed to inquire whether the allocated administration and overhead expenses truly related to the specific tenements being reported on.

The repercussions of inaccurate reporting can be severe, potentially leading to the forfeiture of tenements. In this case, lack of due diligence jeopardized a company’s tenements.

The court emphasized the importance of maintaining detailed records to substantiate reported expenditure. Without proper documentation, companies risk losing valuable assets.

As part of the Settlement Deed on the 18th of September 2020, Focus was required to make a $400,000 cash payment to the Applicants and transferred 13 tenements (Nepean Group tenements) to the Applicants’ nominee, Eastern Coolgardie Goldfields Pty Ltd (ECG).

On November 11, 2020, ECG sold the 80% of the Nepean project to Auroch Minerals Ltd (Auroch) for $4 million and entered a joint venture with Goodfellas Pty Ltd (Goldfellas).  Goodfellas, described as a private company of gold prospectors, resource industry executives, stockbrokers, lawyers, and investor relation consultants, held the other 20% interest, and sold their share of Nepean Project to Lodestar Minerals Limited on the 17/2/2021 for 250M 1.1c  shares worth $2,750,000.

With the Nepean Group Tenements now monetized at $6.75 Million, Focus’ loss is totalled at $7.15 million, not including legal fees.

Auroch, now called the Future Battery Minerals Ltd, sold Nepean tenements for $10M on the 9 May 2023.

The lessons learned are:

  • Mining companies must invest in understanding the intricacies of mining laws as ignorance can be costly.
  • Implementing effective systems for recording expenditure is essential. Verification processes should ensure accuracy and compliance.
  • Certifying Form 5s requires a thorough understanding of the expenditure details. Honesty is paramount.


Simple mistakes prove to be costly. As companies navigate the mining landscape, they should heed this cautionary tale. Compliance, accuracy, and transparency are non-negotiable in the world of mining.

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