Allison v Sandstone Exploration Pty Ltd  WAMW 7 is an example of how to convince the Warden to recommend a refusal to grant a Special Prospecting Licence over an Exploration Licence.
In this case Mr Allison applied for SPL 57/1422 (SPL) over Sandstone’s E 57/1033. Mr Allison applied for the SPL to undertake metal detecting and was going to remove layers of soil with a front end loader to to enable deeper detecting, possibly to a depth of 5 meters.
Sandstone objected to the SPL application on the grounds that that the mining operations would contaminate the soil geochemical samples of Sandstone’s current and future exploration.
S70 of the Mining Act allows the grant of an SPL over an existing Exploration Licence. S70(5) allows the Warden to refuse the SPL if there is undue detriment to the underlying Exploration Licence holder. Warden Caulder in a previous decision said you must consider:
- Past exploration by previous holders
- Past exploration and future exploration by the current holder
- Likelihood of the exploration being undertaken, considering technical and financial ability
- The comparative size of the 2 licences
- proximity of the exploration to the SPL
- Consider the SPL’s holders technical and financial ability
Dermot Ryan (Executive Director of Alto the owner of Sandstone) provided evidence that Sandstone undertook a geological interpretation and identified a target area which overlapped the SPL. Sandstone then collected 3000 soil samples of which some also overlapped the SPL. An anomalous soil sample is anything over 2 parts per billion and samples of 26 ppb were collected in the vicinity of the SPL. Soil sampling would be was used to target future drilling and any ground disturbance by the SPLs owner would prevent it’s use. A Programme of Work (POW) for drilling was approved over the area.
The Warden determined that the proposed ground work by SPL’s holder would unduly interfere with Sandstone’s exploration and recommended that the SPL be refused.
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