Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Wither to for the Clarence Valley now that it is politically friendless?

Coal seam and tight gas exploration and wannabee production company Metgasco Limited is facing the loss of two out of three of its Northern Rivers tenements, if Labor wins government in the March 2015 state election in New South Wales and implements its permanent total ban on CSG/unconditional gas exploration and mining in Tweed, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Byron, Kyogle and Lismore City local government areas.

Unfortunately this leaves the company with a single tenement covering much of the Clarence Valley, once any future state Labor Government finished “exploring” water catchment issues and lifted the proposed temporary state-wide prohibition on coal seam gas mining.

Why is the Clarence Valley in this situation? 

Possibly in part it is because Opposition Leader John Robertson and Sussex Street sees the Clarence electorate a safe Nationals seat and they have given up on valley communities before the election campaign even starts.

It is also possible that because Metgasco considered PEL 426 to have the highest potential for productive gas strata, NSW Labor may done a backroom deal with Metgasco’s board in order for the company to have one remaining marketable reserve/asset left to either sell-off or develop.

Unfortunately for the Clarence Valley, having the current NSW Baird Coalition government retain government or Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis retain his seat is not going to secure a gasfields free future for our communities either.

Metgasco’s PEL 426 tenement is exempt from the NSW Government freeze on new exploration licences and it can apply for a Petroleum Assessment Lease (PAL) to develop wells within the Clarence Valley.

I note that the 2013 test well at Glenugie confirmed a thickening of the Walloon Coal Measure towards the axis of the Grafton Trough with 11m of coal and carbonaceous shale intersected over the interval 495 to 700m and, PEL 426 is listed as potentially containing both coal seam and allegedly 'conventional' gas by the company.

As for the NSW Greens – they are ignoring the plight of the Clarence Valley (which is situated in the southern-most section of the Northern Rivers) and are instead calling for just Coffs Harbour local government area to be additionally included in the proposed Northern Rivers permanent total ban area.

The Yuraygir Coast and Range Alliance has called at meeting of concerned Clarence Valley residents on Thursday 2nd October for 5.30-7.30pm at Gurehlgam, 18 Victoria St, Grafton.

Hopefully this won't be the last meeting of its kind and concerned Clarence Valley residents will continue to voice their opposition to the establishment of local gasfields.


On 29 October 2014 NSW Labor announced that it had decided to include the Clarence Valley in its policy permanently banning coal seam gas/tight gas/unconventional gas exploration, mining and production in the Northern Rivers region.

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