For the most part, mining operations are undertaken in the more
arid and desolate areas of the country. Coastal mining however has
become more prevalent in recent times and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) is
its latest controversial contender. It seems to be a game changer
when the environment at risk is not the less inhabited rural areas
but the doorsteps of urban cities. But is it really all as daunting
as it sounds?
The NSW Legislative Council Committee adopted a cautious
approach in its report of recommendations for regulating CSG in
In delivering its 35 recommendations the Committee pressed for a
continued moratorium on production licenses in CSG until a more
formal legal framework is developed.
The key recommendations include:
a push for greater community consultation on CSG projects at
the exploration license and operational stages;
strengthening landholder rights through the development of a
balanced land access scheme;
mandating a certain portion of gas produced to be devoted to
compulsory water testing and monitoring measures during
exploration and a stricter Code of Practice for CSG miners;
prohibiting open storage of produced water; and
keeping hydraulic fraccing off limits until more light is shed
on its potential side effects.
The ban on production doesn't affect exploration licenses
which are recommended to continue in the interests of gathering
more information on the impacts of CSG.
The proponents of CSG argue the benefits of a resource which
purportedly produces a lot less Co2 than coal while its opponents
insist it's a newly green washed acronym representing the same
What's certain is that if CSG mining has a future in NSW it
will certainly be a heavily regulated one.
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It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
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