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Cascade Coal launches Australian High Court appeal

World Coal,

Cascade Coal has launched a High Court bid in an attempt to regain cancelled mining exploration licenses.

The licenses were lost after a corruption finding by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) led to the New South Wales (NSW) government cancelling the licenses using new legislation.

The ICAC investigated whether former Australian Labor Party ministers, Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, conspired to defraud the state over the granting of a multi-million-dollar mining licence in the Bylong Valley.

The corruption inquiry heard Macdonald granted the lucrative Mount Penny coal mining lease over land owned by the Obeid family, and that the Obeids encouraged their friends to buy up land in the area and secretly hid their involvement in mining projects though complex company structures.

The Mount Penny Coal and Glendon Brook exploration licences were cancelled through the Mining Amendment (ICAC Operations Jasper and Acacia) Act, passed by the NSW state government in January.

The legislation followed the ICAC's corrupt conduct findings against Obeid, Macdonald, mining magnate Travers Duncan and four others.

Cascade Coal and its subsidiaries sought a High Court ruling to declare the Act invalid under the Constitution.

The company said it wanted to "protect the interests of Cascade's shareholders who have incurred substantial losses as a consequence of the unconstitutional action of the Government".

In a separate case, already underway in the Supreme Court, the company's directors are trying to overturn ICAC findings relating to their failure to disclose the Obeid family's secret interest in the Mount Penny tender.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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