Northern Rivers residents opposed to coal seam gas mining should keep a close eye on the Australian Stock Exchange if they want to know when drilling might start at the Bentley.
Despite announcing that ‘negotiations with a drilling contractor to drill the Rosella well are almost complete’ on September 29, a spokesperson for Metgasco told Echonetdaily this morning she had ‘no idea’ when negotiations would be completed.
That’s despite the company announcing more than two weeks ago that it ‘plans to announce the selection of the contractor and the proposed timing for the Rosella drilling program in the next few weeks’.
Asked whether Northern Rivers residents would be directly informed by the company, the spokesperson said ‘everyone can look at the ASX’.
Meanwhile, the company’s managing director Peter Henderson rejected suggestions that a Lismore City Council decision this week could stop Metgasco using local roads to carry out seismic testing and other activities.
Mr Henderson told local media that the company had state government approval and that was what ‘counts’.
‘If the New South Wales Government gives us the right to explore, wouldn’t it be absurd if local councils could simply stand in the way on the basis of ideological reasons?’ Mr Henderson said.
‘That would be absurd.’
Lismore MP Thomas George, whose son works for the company, backed the miner in comments to APN media, saying he did not believe Lismore City Council was in a position to stop the mining company from using local roads.
‘The council wants it stopped, but I don’t believe they’re in a situation where they can stop it,’ Mr George said.
Despite promising prior to the election that the state government would purchase CSG licences in the region, Mr George has failed to deliver on the promise.
Instead, he is now challenging Lismore council to match the state government’s funding offer to Metgasco.
‘My challenge to Lismore City Council and Mayor Jenny Dowell is to join with the government and put whatever funds they have into purchasing back the PEL’ he told media.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said the suggestion was ridiculous.
‘The licence has nothing to do with Lismore City Council and we would not contemplate participating in any kind of buy-off,’ Cr Dowell said.