It's A Bad Week To Be A Coal Seam Gas Miner In Australia

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It’s a bad week to be a Coal Seam Gas miner.

Reports have emerged that suggest two multi-billion dollar deals were rushed through in Queensland, the political backlash has begun and this morning Dart Energy said it was walking away from from its projects in New South Wales.

This is Dart Energy’s daily share price over the month to 2 April. Today, the company said it was slashing 70% of its workforce, thanks to tighter government restrictions on CSG projects.

Field operations in New South Wales have also been suspended, with the company to instead focus on its projects in China and Britain, it said in a statement this morning.

This is after the New South Wales Government came out with new CSG rules in February that included a ban on drilling near homes.

“The consequence is that investment is leaving the country, field operations are being suspended, Australian jobs are being lost, and the impending energy crisis in New South Wales is not being addressed, and indeed, will only get worse,” Dart chairman Nick Davies said, in the statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This is in direct contrast to the United Kingdom, where the government is actively seeking to support the responsible development of unconventional gas resources,” he said.

This morning, The Greens called for a halt on all Coal Seam Gas projects in the country, after former Queensland bureaucrat Simone Marsh told the ABC’s Four Corners program that two projects in that state were rushed, and decision makers didn’t have important information about their impact on the environment.

Independent MP Tony Windsor has also said he is concerned that CSG projects could have been rushed through.

“We need to go back, get the baseline information, base the approval process on science and risk, not on the capacity of the government to absorb a deficit or a surplus at the time, and then make those decisions based on those parameters,” Windsor told the ABC.

Liberal senator Simon Birmingham told Sky News that mining and CSG projects were important for Australia’s future, but it was crucial they included environmental protections.

He added that The Greens would probably be against any mining project regardless of how good the science was.

Parliamentary secretary Matt Thistlethwaite, also to Sky News, said planning, assessment and land-use management issues were the domain of the states, and that the government had taken environmental concerns seriously.

“We’ve moved as far as we constitutionally can to ensure that we’re listening to the concerns of rural communities,” he told Sky News.

Read the full Four Corners story here.

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