A COAL seam gas venture that includes the Shoalhaven has been granted an exploration licence for six years.
The licence covers a large area of Shoalhaven from Sussex Inlet, Kangaroo Valley, Bolong Flats and Terara.
Shoalhaven Greens councillor Amanda Findley said last year when the issue of renewing the licence came up that coal seam gas exploration was just as damaging as the process itself.
“It’s just done on a much smaller scale,” she said.
“We have a lot to lose here in the Shoalhaven if the coal seam gas industries keep us in their sights.
“With our high rainfall, good soils and proximity to market our focus should be on reinvigorating our agriculture sector rather than poisoning the land that feeds us,” she said.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward has reaffirmed his support for the state government’s coal seam gas (CSG) water protection measures, which he said were the toughest in Australia.
“No other jurisdiction in the world has the strong protections available in NSW,” he said.
“Contrary to the false rhetoric of the Greens and Labor, we will not grow the CSG industry in NSW unless the protections are in place for water and our high-value agricultural land,” he said.
Leichhardt Resources and Planet Gas are planning community consultation over the drilling of two exploration holes somewhere in the Shoalhaven.
Leichhardt Resources director Simon Tolhurst said while coals in this region were known to be gaseous there were processes to undergo before drilling started.
“Now the licences are granted our first order of business is to get involved in community consultation.
“We are not even talking about getting on land whether it be state government, council owned or privately owned land before the community consultation process.
“After that we have to first identify what it is we want to do.”
Mr Tolhurst said one of the first steps after consultation would be a seismic line. This type of survey uses sound waves to produce a detailed image of the geology beneath the surface.
“However, even before we go to the community we need to collate a lot of information.
“It is not a situation where we just whip in and jump on someone’s land and do the work.
“We are at a stage of early exploration and it covers a very large area and will take a number of years.
“We are looking at drilling two exploration wells, which would mean being on that land for two weeks, drilling a hole, cementing it up and doing the analysis. It is fairly minor in terms of size. I would distinguish that from production wells.
“We have areas we would like to look at but there is no use circulating that until we have gone though the community consultation process."