Media Releases | 17th Jun, 2015

New Victorian coal licences a ticking time bomb for the climate and local landholders


17 June 2015

Environment Victoria has today revealed that four new Gippsland coal exploration licences have been issued by the Andrews Government.

Victoria’s leading environment group has criticised the Andrews Government decision and called for the immediate introduction of a moratorium on new coal mines and mining and exploration licences for coal.

The new exploration licences were granted to controversial speculative mining venture Mantle Mining. A fifth licence, awarded in May, is a retention licence granted to Gelliondale Resources following the expiry of an exploration licence. Both Mantle Mining and Gelliondale Resources have ambitions to export brown coal.

Environment Victoria’s Safe Climate Campaign manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said today:

“We’ve been encouraged by the Andrew Government’s statements on climate change since they were elected. But this move is deeply disappointing and suggests that some parts of the department are still pursuing dirty brown coal export dreams.”

“The Andrews Government has not yet articulated a clear policy direction on the future for coal in Victoria, so it’s no surprise that bureaucrats are still rubber-stamping licences for speculative coal companies.”

The Andrews Government is currently reviewing the Climate Change Act and associated emissions reduction policies, while also developing action plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“This is the first major misstep on the environment by the Andrews Government that needs correcting urgently. An immediate and permanent moratorium on new coal mines is needed while Victoria develops a clear vision for its energy and economic future,” said Dr Aberle.

“Issuing new coal licences is absolutely inconsistent with the urgent need to decarbonise our economy. It’s time all parts of government got the memo that new fossil fuel projects are not part of Victoria’s future.”

“Exploration licences also create great concern and distress for local landowners and communities. With a mining licence over their land it is impossible to plan for or invest in the future.”

For more details, download the briefing paper here.

For comment or further information:
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager, Environment Victoria – 0402 512 121
For a local perspective:
Phil Piper         Mardan/Mirboo North Landcare Group 0417 566 763
Marg Thomas    Coal and Gas Free Mirboo North              0408 319 397