Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher.THE state government has asked NuCoal to suspend activities at its proposed Doyles Creeks mine site near Jerrys Plains pending an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into the awarding of its exploration licence.

Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher said this morning he had written to the company to invite it ‘‘to consider suspending all exploration activity’’.

Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald gave Doyles Creek Mining the licence in December 2008.

NuCoal bought Doyles Creek Mining in February this year.

The granting of the licence, which was not put to tender, was formally referred to the ICAC last week by a resolution of state parliament.

It followed an independent review that found there had been ‘‘a circumstantial case of wrongdoing and a breach of public trust’’.

“There is considerable interest and concern in the community related to the granting of the Licence and the company’s exploration activities,” Mr Hartcher said in a statement this morning. “In view of these concerns, and in view of the ICAC investigation currently underway, I have invited NuCoal to consider suspending all exploration activity pending the findings and recommendations of ICAC.”

The Greens and the NSW Farmers Association had called on Premier Barry O’Farrell to intervene after Tuesday’s Land and Environment Court order that farmers Ian and Robyn Moore must give NuCoal access so it can explore their property for coal.

NuCoal has just issued a trading halt to the ASX pending an announcement.