Australian billionaire Andrew Forrester has been locked in a battle with mining company Onslow Resources for the past three years over mining rights on his family's property in Australia. This may be reaching an end, however, as Forrester recently lost his latest bid to stop exploration mining at the cattle station near Pilbara.
The West Australian reported that Onslow Resources has gained conditional approval for a sand mining project at the Forrester Minderoo station. Magistrate Stephen Wilson published a decision in January, encouraging Mines Minister Bill Marmion to grant a mining lease to the company so long as they adhere to several conditions. Once full permission is given, Onslow, as well as Yarri Mining and Quarry Park, will be able to mine for mineral sands in the region around the Ashburton River, according to The Guardian.
Before the decision was handed down, Forrester and his lawyers argued that the mining lease could have a number of harmful effects on the cattle station, including impacting pastoral operations and revenues, as well as damage to the local environment. The Guardian also stated that Forrester and his legal team noted that the mining project would affect portions of the Ashburton River and deprive him and his family of land use. Forrester currently utilizes the land to operate a pastoral business overseeing more than 3,000 head of cattle.
"Forrester regards the Ashburton River to be significant to its pastoral operations on Minderoo as a source of water and from the overall benefits it brings to all aspects of the surrounding environment," Forrester's submission stated according to The Guardian.
However, The West Australian stated that Wilson rejected much of this argument in his decision. The Ashburton River, which forms a half-mark boarder on the Minderoo property, will be mined by Onslow and other companies during the dry seasons to provide resources for concrete sand supplies.
A spokesperson for the cattle rancher told The West Australian that Forrester found the decision "disappointing" in that it will enable sand mining "within the historical and environmentally fragile parts" of the property.
Decisions and appeals
Currently, Forrester and the mining companies are awaiting a final ruling by the Mines Minister, which is expected to come after a six-month grace period. During this time, however, Forrester and his lawyers have the ability to appeal Warden's Supreme Court decision if they so choose. The Forrester party is also battling other mining groups vying for rights on the property.