Metgasco breaks protester blockade

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Metgasco breaks protester blockade

Postby HVPA_research » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:40 am

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Metgasco breaks protester blockade
Written by Ross Kendall
Ethical Investor Magazine
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Coal seam gas explorer Metgasco says it has broad community support despite utilising the riot police to break a protester blockade at one of its key sites in northern New South Wales.

“Our community responsibilities have been and continue to be front of mind since we commenced our drilling activities in the Clarence Morton Basin in 2005. We have always operated with a focus on ensuring open and honest communication with community groups,” Peter Henderson Metgasco (ASX: MEL) chief executive said in an investor briefing last week.
“We believe that we have the support of a broad cross section of the Casino and Grafton communities in which we operate [in northern NSW]. Local farmers have provided us with access to their properties, and residents and businesses are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to access cheaper and cleaner power when we move into production,” he said.

Henderson also acknowledged that protest action by the Lock the Gate Alliance and other community groups had delayed the company’s work.

The blockage of Metgasco test drilling site was “a huge success” and only broken by a police force of “around 80”, resulting in 18 arrests, Drew Hutton Lock the Gate Alliance president said.

"Metgasco will run into the same sorts of resistance wherever it tries to bring major equipment like drill rigs into a community that doesn't want them," Hutton said.

"I am very proud of all the people who mounted today's resistance and it shows the determination of them, and many like them, to keep coal seam gas out of their region,” he said.

Those living around the proposed drill site complain about the lack of information and consultation from Metgasco, and worry about their pristine waterways and environment he said.

More blockades could be expected at other Metgasco sites Hutton said.

Metgasco’s Henderson said there is a vocal group of people who would prefer there be no drilling for natural gas in northern NSW. “They do not accept the outcomes of the extensive review undertaken by the NSW government which identified that CSG operations are safe…” he said.

Metgasco’s share price was last at $0.175 in a 52-week range of $0.42 to $0.16.

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