The race for coal riches has led to wide tracts of the state being placed under exploration permits.
The race for coal riches has led to wide tracts of the state being placed under exploration permits.

Emerald spared the drilling rigs

THE resource company that holds an Exploration Permit for Coal covering Emerald has vowed residents will not see drilling rigs rolling down the main street of town.

Newland Resources general manager Gavin May said the company had already taken steps to “carve out” urban areas, plus a section of state forest, from its coal tenement over Emerald.

On Monday, Premier Anna Bligh announced no mining exploration would be allowed in and around Queensland urban areas with a population of 1000 or more.

Ms Bligh said the restricted area would cover all existing exploration permits as well as future ones, with the possibility of 285 EPCs to be relinquished.

Emerald is currently covered by EPC1508, bought by Newland Resources in 2009.

Mr May said he was unaware of Premier Bligh’s 2km urban buffer zone to separate mining operations from townships until the announcement on Monday, but nonetheless, he was not surprised.

“I couldn’t imagine rolling a drill rig into Emerald,” Mr May said.

“It wouldn’t be prudent or practical and we have already taken steps to relinquish the urban areas from the tenement, it’s a process we started well before this announcement.”

Mr May said the company had also taken steps to relinquish an area of state forest within the western boundary of the exploration permit.

“I’m certainly not a big fan of drilling in urban areas or in places that simply aren’t practical or beneficial to the community,” he said.

“These are early days for this exploration permit, it is not one of our priority projects at this stage, but we never planned to drill underneath Emerald.”


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