The environmental group ‘Switch Off Coal’ is staging a protest at the Bacchus March located west of Melbourne. The conservation group is unhappy about the brown coal testing that Mantle Mining is conducting in the area. Testing began about two weeks ago.
As per Switch Off Coal the community had not been consulted about this testing and the agriculture industry in the area was sure to suffer is brown coal mining was allowed. One of the five protestors, Shaun Murray, has chained himself to a drilling rig at the test site.
Murray said that this was probably the most advanced coal project and as such, it represented the first attempt to build or undertake a new coal development in Victoria in 15 years. The group wants money to be invested in renewable energy and not in coal.
Paul Connor, another member of the environmental group said that they needed to transition away from coal. Brown coal was the dirtiest kind of coal. He added that Mantle Mining was claiming that they could burn the brown coal slightly more efficiently, but this technology that they're planning to use was in no way compatible with a safe climate future for this planet
Responding to the protests Premier Ted Baillieu said that there was no guarantee that Mantle Mining would be granted a mining permit at Bacchus Marsh. He said that they had different provisions in Victoria and to the extent that Mantle Mining have been seeking or they have an exploration permit, that's all they have, they don't have any development permits.
Mark Wakeham of Environment Victoria said to a state parliamentary inquiry that there should be a moratorium on coal seam gas projects pending a thorough investigation. He said that they would like to make sure that they looked properly at the implications of developing a coal seam gas industry in Victoria.