Rio Tinto presumably did not keep good track of their claim records. Seem they forgot that they had to renew a claim to the Shovelanna iron ore tenement deep in Western Australia. You can imagine the panic as somebody at the last minute realized a document had to be in an important place. They prepared the document and did what we all do: give it to a courier to deliver. The courier tarried along the way and delivered the documents late.
Sitting in the wings hoping to benefit by the tardiness of the courier was a gentleman by the name of Cazaly. Seems he noticed this tardy courier and jumped in and staked the claim ahead of Rio Tinto. By law he now held the valuable claim. He quickly trotted off to BHP Billiton which promised to help him develop a mine.
In truth I do not know all the facts as I cannot get a copy of the court records. But as you would expect, Rio Tinto fought this all the way to the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Three judges ruled in favor of Rio Tinto saying something to the effect that “minor oversights or inadvertence will not lead to unexpected loss of tenements by bona fide miners.”
Cazaly will now appeal to the High Court of Australia. The policy and public affairs manager for the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said the decision “is a dark day for Western Australia.” Presumably he thinks, as I do, that the law is clear: stake your claim or let somebody else do so. I mean, if it is OK to be a day late, could we stretch that to, well, maybe a week, no, no make it a month? Time floats by so fast!
This comic story of Australian bumblers and crooks kept floating through my mind as I sat in the Vancouver Rowing Club looking out over that most exquisite scene: water and boats, bridges and forests, mountains and mist. I was trying to concentrate on a presentation on Maxwell’s newly released Version 1.5 of LeaseControl. Seems they have expanded the previous version that would only let you enter a Shire, the basic unit of political control in Australia. Now you can enter counties and other north American political entities. And I wondered if Rio Tinto had a copy of LeaseControl and if they did have a copy, whether they would have gotten into the ridiculous mess of late couriers, fast-eyed claim jumpers, and expensive lawyers.
After two beers and some chunks of cheese, I confess I forgot about Rio Tinto’s victory and Cazaly’s woes. I forgot about the obvious usefulness of LeaseControl and its obvious easy use. I simply gazed in existential wonder at the scene and the water and took off on my bike to speed along the seawall and become one with the wind and air.
Meanwhile I cannot promise that LeaseControl will be an easy bike ride through wind and air. But however labored your pedaling, it will be better than writing checks for lawyers.