In response to the State's argument that the leases provided exclusive possession of the land, the Court described the leases as common law mineral leases which do not presume exclusive possession. And as neither the leases nor the Iron Ore (Mount Goldsworthy) Agreement Act 1964 (WA) explicitly stated an intention to provide exclusive possession, the Court found that the Ngarla People's native title rights and interests were not extinguished in this way.
To dismiss the argument that native title in the land was extinguished by the leaseholders' actual or potential conflicting use of the land, the Court relied on the decisions made in Wik and Ward: that rights to use the land for particular purposes may impair the exercise of native title rights but, without the right of exclusive possession, they will not extinguish native title rights.
Finally, when considering whether the native title was extinguished by the development of the land or by the exercise of lease rights, the Court found that such an argument directly contradicts the principles established in Wik and Ward. On this reasoning, the Court found that the Federal Court's reasoning in De Rose v South Australia (No 2) (that exercising rights to construct improvements on the land extinguished all native title) was wrong and should not be followed.