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Coalbed methane company seeks community support

World Coal,

A company looking to develop a coalbed methane (CBM) project in Australia has set out its intention to garner local community support for the project.

Clarence Moreton Resources (CMR), which has lodged a petroleum, prospecting application for an area on the New South Wales (NSW) north coast, says it is aware of the importance of involving the local community within development of the project.

Peter Francis, of CMR, said “We’re aware of the issues that Metgasco had faced” when dealing with local communities.

"We understand the concerns in the community, and that's the thing that we would have to manage,” Francis continued. "So we need to gather the facts, get an understanding of the matter which concern the community, whether it's on environmental grounds or social grounds or other matters, and formulate a plan to deal with those or otherwise decide it's all too hard."

The application to extract gas from coal seams has been made to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas. The company is seeking approval to undertake surveys south of Casino over a 12-month period. CMR stressed that the initial work for the project will not involve drilling.

Francis said that, to begin with, preliminary work will mostly be done on paper. "Geologists will be involved, but it's a desk-top study really," he said.

"It involves a review of the geology of the area, a review of previous seismic work and other geological work that's been carried out,” Francis said.

"(It's) an opportunity to talk to the community about their concerns about coal seam gas exploration, and it gives us a year to determine the potential […] of the area," Francis continued.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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