Casino still in the dark over gas venture

By JENNIE DELL

WHEN Gloria Horne convened a public meeting at Ellangowan to discuss the proposed mining of methane gas in the South Casino area, she and her friends and neighbours had many questions.

Would there be a smell of gas, contamination and lowering of the water table, environ- mental damage, land access problems and a decline in property values?

Two of drilling company Metgasco's directors, David Johnson and Glenda McLaughlin, flew up from Sydney on a baking hot Saturday afternoon, to answer questions and explain the gas mining process and its benefits.

Gloria Horne told The Northern Star that Ellangowan district people had been upset last month to hear that the Richmond Valley Council had held meetings with Metgasco with- out telling ratepayers about their methane mining plans.

In early December, the Sydney-based company announced that after five years of exploration, it planned to drill for gas, build a small power plant south of Casino and start supplying electricity to the grid.

Metgasco was floated on the Stock Exchange on December 23 to raise the $5 million to finish the exploratory stage.

Mayor Charlie Cox, spoke at the meeting about the importance of attracting industry to the Casino district.

There were some questions David Johnson admitted to being 'unable to answer'.

Lists of the unanswered questions were written by minute-takers and displayed in the hall.

Gloria Horne said after the meeting that a committee was being convened to research further into the methane mining process and its effect on the land. Metgasco plans to hold focus meetings in Casino during the coming fortnight.

For more information contact Gloria on 6663 7108.



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