Despite overwhelming public opposition, junior gas miner Metgasco announced Monday that a proposed timeframe for its Rosella (Bentley) drilling program will be announced ‘in the next few weeks’.
Metgasco has also said it will conduct seismic testing at Rock Valley, the place where the northern rivers anti-CSG movement was born.
But local gasfield free groups have condemned the plan saying ‘we will not stand for it’ and that the company should ‘take the [government’s] money and run.’
The Rosella well at Bentley, near Lismore, was the scene for a sustained protest camp which eventually led to the suspension of the project, the legality of which was later overturned in court.
But despite the opposition the company told the ASX in a statement yesterday, ‘Metgasco… advises that negotiations with a drilling contractor to drill the Rosella well as almost complete.’
Additionally, the company claims contracts have been exchanged with a seismic acquisition contractor for its ‘northern rivers petroleum exploration licence, PEL 16.’
The seismic program is to provide ‘more definition of the northern extent of the Greater MacKellar conventional/tight gas exploration prospect.’
The statment claims the seismic program had been planned for some time and has approval via the review of environmental factors process.
Ross Joseph, from the Bentley Gatekeepers said the group would ‘not sit idly by and watch Metgasco roll in and wreck our valleys. They are not welcome here.’
‘Not only are they planning to return to Bentley, but they plan to undertake seismic work in Rock Valley.
‘Rock Valley was one of the first communities to declare themselves gasfield free, 96.5 per cent of their community have steadfastly shown that they do not want to live with invasive gasfields.’ he said
Mr Joseph said of Metgasco, ‘their arrogance is staggering. How many times do we need to tell them to go away and why is this company continually ignoring the fact that they are not welcome here?’
‘The government made them an offer to withdraw easily from the northern rivers and minister Roberts has said that they remain willing to negotiate. Metgasco should take the money and run.
‘We live here, we work here, and we are not going anywhere. Our community will not stand for it, we remain committed to protecting our home, and our numbers will only keep growing as more and more people realise exactly what will happen here if we let this go ahead.
‘If Metgasco won’t take the easy way out, then it’s clearly in the hands of the government, they should support Labor’s bill for a moratorium which specifically excludes the Northern Rivers from unconventional gas activity. Our community would be protected, and the whole thing would be done and dusted,’ Mr Joseph said.