A geologist who self reported that proper approvals weren’t in place when three exploration holes were drilled, appeared in Orange Local Court on Monday.
Tully Richards of Orange appeared in court for taking the samples at a Rigent Pty Ltd property at Wallacia between October 27 and 31 in 2017, when an exploration licence was in place.
Although Richards appeared in court, the company Rigent was listed in court documents.
Solicitor Mason Manwaring said Richards had approval from one government body but not a second government body to drill the 30-metre deep, 60 to 70 millimetre wide holes.
There’s no evidence that it was willful, however the activity was completed before the error was discovered.Magistrate David Day
“Mr Richards has been a geologist for 25 years and this is his first offence,” Mr Manwaring said.
After reviewing the agreed facts and emails between Richards and the Department of Planning and Environment, Magistrate David Day said there had been permission to conduct drilling operations at various times but not at the relevant time.
“There’s no evidence that it was willful, however the activity was completed before the error was discovered,” Mr Day said.
“There’s no evidence that there was any harm to the environment from the three bore holes.”
It was recommended that the company be fined $2500 with half the fine to go to the Department of Planning and Environment.
The fine request was for deterrence however, Mr Manwaring said if penalties for self-reporting were too steep people may not come forward as readily to self report when mistakes were made.
Mr Day said there was some merit in what Mr Manwaring said and issued a $1100 fine and $500 to go to the department, less than the recommended amount.
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