Marmota readies for court battle

13th July 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Marmota on Thursday said it would start Supreme Court proceedings against fellow listed Barton Gold and its subsidiary Challenger 2, relating to a dispute over the Western Gawler Craton Joint Venture (WGCJV) in South Australia.

The WGCJV has existed since 2010 and includes the Sandstone JV which has existed since 1995.

Marmota on Thursday said that the JV parties in April last year agreed on a A$1.69-million budget and work programme for the WGCJV, but claimed that the company and its subsidiary Half Moon had been barred by Barton from accessing any of the tenements subject to the WGCJV, despite being the majority partner in the JV and the authorised manager of both the WGCJV and the Sandstone JV.

Furthermore, Marmota claims that Barton and Challenger 2 had failed or refused to sign the programme for environment protection and rehabilitation (PEPR), which has to be lodged with the Department of Mining for approval under the Mining Act.

Marmota said on Thursday that Barton and Challenger 2 had also failed to remedy Notices of Default.

Furthermore, Marmota also alleges that Burton or its predecessor had produced gold from a mineral lease that had been established after the creation of the WGCJV on the JV area, while also claiming that there was some outstanding rehabilitation which was the obligation of Challenger 2 to carry out.

The company will now seek damages and a declaration regarding the gold which has been mined on the project area, and an order for Challenger 2 to carry out outstanding rehabilitation work.

Barton on Thursday again reiterated its belief that Marmota’s claims were "false and misleading", with the company saying the issues raised by Marmota had been considered in the context of the WGCJV and had been addressed in "extensive correspondence" between the JV partners.

“Barton has obtained external legal advice and is of the view that Marmota’s claims are without merit,” the company said on Thursday.

“Barton considers that its minority WGCJV interest is immaterial to the company’s value and regional strategy, and that the status of this matter is not materially changed since Barton’s last update.”

Barton said that it would ‘continue to pursue’ a resolution of the dispute.