AN APPLICATION to search for gas around Myrtle Creek, 30km south of Casino along the Summerland Way has been made to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas by Clarence Moreton Resources.
The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of East Coast Energy, a privately owned company funded by its directors, Peter Francis and Glen Cunningham, and their families.
While it does not have a major public profile in the region, the company holds partial stakes in three exploration tenements and has previously applied for an exploration licence, PELA135, south of Tabulam and Mallanganee.
Mr Francis told The Northern Star the application is for a "desktop study" which doesn't require them to go on to the land.
"We will be reviewing the geological work that has been carried out in the past to see if there is any prospect of activity on that block. Then, if we chose, we could apply for an exploration permit," he said.
Mr Francis said the Myrtle Creek application was originally made in 2009 and has just come up after another applicant withdrew.
The company also has a 50% stake in PEL457 - which runs from Yamba west to the Summerland Way where the company drilled two exploration boreholes with joint venture partner Red Sky Energy. Red Sky has since sold their interest to ERM Power.
Mr Francis said given the opposition to gas mining seen in recent years, they were "sensitive to the community's need to have a social licence".
Lock The Gate spokesperson Ian Gaillard said anyone looking at gas mining in the Northern Rivers "hasn't heeded the fact that we want the Northern Rivers to be gasfield free and there has been a massive community campaign to achieve that."
"It sounds like another example of a bunch city-based investors looking to impose mining on the people of the Northern Rivers which we know is not wanted."