CSG firm walks away from deal

TWEED coal seam gas mining protesters let out a cry of joy when Macquarie Energy walked away from the Tweed region, but the Northern Rivers Guardians have warned the battle is far from over.

Northern Rivers Guardians president Scott Sledge said it was a relief when the powerhouse abandoned its licence for CSG exploration, which would have devastated the Tweed region.

"They had a Petroleum Exploration Licence which they have walked away from," Mr Sledge said.

"The licence, issued by the New South Wales government, covered the bulk of the Tweed region.

"It is good news. I think you can safely say anything to do with CSG would be disastrous for the Tweed."

However Mr Sledge said there was still danger another company would pick up the abandoned licence.

"We are not out of the woods just yet. There is nothing to stop another company from picking this licence up," he said.

"The western part of the Tweed shire is still under licence by PNG Gas, roughly one-third of the Tweed shire is still under government licence."

Mr Sledge said Macquarie Energy have not publicly announced why they have stepped away from the licence.

"I'd like to think they saw the writing on the wall and saw how important it is to protect the flora and fauna in the Tweed," he said.

Northern Rivers Guardians have experienced another win while championing their cause to Australian Ethical and encouraging them to stand against coal seam gas mining.

Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon said the company had sold out of its investment in Origin Energy.

"The decision was taken following a thorough assessment of the risks surrounding Origin's coal seam gas extraction operations. Whilst the industry has invested in methods to minimise these risks, many of these are untested and there remain concerns about their long-term impact," Mr Vernon said.

NSW Environmental Defender's Office senior solicitor Sue Higginson said an application from Macquarie Energy has been withdrawn from the Tweed region.

"Their PELA134 application has been withdrawn but I understand there are still a few applications pending in the Northern Rivers area," Ms Higginson said.

"There are a number of hypothesised reasons the company may have walked away from Tweed but at this stage all we know is the application has been withdrawn."



  • Coal Seam Gas is methane gas found in coal seams
  • A mining company will first apply to the State Government for an exploration licence. They then conduct geological studies to determine which areas offer potential for coal seam gas extraction. This may involve drilling exploratory holes to take samples.
  • There are many hazards involved with CSG extraction. CSG wells and pipelines are fire and explosion hazards. Over 50% of wells tested in Queensland leak methane. Many landholders have reported instances of methane in their stock watering bores and even household taps.

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