Western Coal Proprietary Limited was awarded exploration licences E70/4079 and E70/4080 last month.
The combined area of 19 blocks starts near the Vasse underground coal project at Osmington, which has copped criticism from English comedians Michael Palin and Ben Elton, and stretches across to Busselton Shire.
Overlooking the fact that the name Western Coal might seem a tad generic, various news reports have claimed that Canada’s Western Coal is seeking to mine coal in this southwest region.
The Canadian company was recently acquired by significant US coal producer Walter Energy in a $US3.2 billion deal.
A Walter Energy spokesperson was somewhat dismayed to hear of the reports.
"I do not believe that this is the same Western Coal we acquired on April 1," he told ILN.
The Northbridge-based Western Coal which holds the exploration licences was registered in May 2010, according to public information available on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.
While any work on the two licences is likely to be at a grassroots stage, Ian Parmenter of resident activists group NO COAL!tion Margaret River has noted that the Carbunup River goes right through the tenement areas.
Last month the state’s Environmental Protection Authority recommended against the development of the proposed Vasse mine; however, Environment Minister Bill Marmion will ultimately decide whether the project can enter more advanced stages of planning.
The Vasse project was being advanced by LD Operations on behalf of its private owners, AMCI (70%) and Core Coal Holdings (30%).
LDO has considered appealing against the EPA recommendation and would like a “comprehensive and rigorous” public environmental review process for the proposed underground coal mine.