Metgasco sets June date for gas plant
By LEONIE BRANN
CASINO residents will have to wait until June to find out if Metgasco will go ahead with plans to build a $12-million natural gas power plant near the town.
At a public meeting at the Casino RSM Club yesterday, principals from Metgasco briefed residents about the progress of the coal bed methane drilling and power generation project, and answered questions about the possible effects of the project on water supply and property values, among other issues.
Metgasco managing director David Johnson told the meeting the project was still in its planning stages with the trial production phase, including the drilling of six trial gas wells a few kilometres south of Casino, to be completed by about June.
The trial phase will test the quality and quantity of the methane gas in the area and give an idea if the project is commercially viable.
"We are still a long way off establishing that we have found a commercial field, and we will not be applying for a production licence or lodging a development application with council for the power plant until we have proved the project is viable," Mr Johnson said.
Yesterday's meeting was attended by about 15 residents, as well as Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox and council's director of development and environ- mental services, Ken Exley.