Perennial battler 3D Resources is fighting to retain its ownership of its Cosmo Newberry gold project in the face of a legal attack by its joint venture partner.
WA prospector Mike Foley, who has a minority interest in the most promising Cosmo Newberry tenement, has demanded 3D to forfeit its dirt north-east of Laverton because it has failed to meet expenditure commitments.
But the Melbourne-based explorer on Tuesday asked the Perth Warden’s Court for an exemption from 2020-21 obligations after admitting its spend of $86,000 was less than half of what was required under its exploration licences.
Despite having struck an access agreement in 2016 with one Indigenous group, 3D lawyer Evan Rogers told the court the company had long had difficulty gaining access to the tenements amid animosity between rival native title claimants.
Mr Rogers said on Tuesday the company had gained exemptions from State officials in the past and the court would have to decide if they should be granted again in the face of Mr Foley’s protests.
The Warden’s Court can order that 3D pay fines or forfeit the tenement if it decides the exemption should not be granted for 2020-21.
This tenement row comes amid a long-running dispute with Mr Foley over 3D’s failure to secure access to Cosmo Newberry or to drill the tenements.
Protests by Mr Foley helped scuttle 3D’s plans to float Cosmo Newberry in a new company called Cosmo Gold.
The court reserved its decision late Tuesday on whether it should grant 3D an expenditure exemption.
If the court rules an exemption should not be granted, the parties will then argue about potential fines and surrender orders.