City Hub

Calls for cancellation of drilling licence

The campaign to stop coal seam gas mining in St Peters has turned its focus to cancelling site approval. Dart Energy have stated they will not proceed mining for coal seam gas in St Peters despite owning a drilling licence.

Paul Benedek, spokesperson for the group, ‘Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney,’
said while his group is pleased for the company’s decision, it has been calling for the licence to be cancelled. “They still have a licence to drill. Even though they say they won’t drill, we want to see their licence cancelled,” he said.

“Otherwise, they might change their mind, or another company may come in and say ‘we now want to do this.’

“We’ve hardly achieved what we’ve been fighting for.”

Mr Benedek said mining coal seam gas in an urban centre like St Peters would present unique issues. “We are concerned in an urban environment that this is an industrial process that involves massive amount of water and massive amount of trucks and piping,” he said.

“If it went into production, it would involve a web of wells that would be several hundred metres apart, so it could be a web of wells throughout the suburb.”

Mr Benedek argued if mining were to take place in St Peters, the usual dangers associated with coal seam gas mining – water pollution by heavy and toxic metals and land pollution by salt – would be
alarming.

Marrickville Councillor, Victor Macri said the Council is unanimously against any coal seam gas mining in the suburb. However, he dismissed the the drilling licence as a non-issue as the licence has already expired. “The Council doesn’t have to do anything with the site approval because the actual license of exploration has expired and it hasn’t been acted on,” he said.

“This has only been drummed up to try and get some support for the upcoming Council election.

“They’re just trying to drum up a smear campaign to distract everyone from the real issues of Council. The real issues with Council are [issues like] no parking in Marrickville. That’s what the people care about; they can’t park anywhere near their home.”

Andrew Collins, the External Affairs Manager of Dart Energy, reiterated his company’s decision in May on not to proceed with coal seam gas mining in St Peters.