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Mantle finds coal and opposition

MANTLE Mining has had drilling success at its proposed Bacchus Marsh brown coal mine in Victoria after intercepting two 50 metre thick coal seams, amid growing local opposition to the mine.

Lauren Barrett
Mantle finds coal and opposition

Mantle has drilled four of its 15 drill holes in the southern area of Bacchus March and hopes to define an inferred resource at the tenement once all drill holes have been completed.

The proposed mine, which has an exploration target of 1-2 billion tonnes of brown coal, could be upgraded to suit the export thermal coal market after Mantle Mining recently signed a deal with Exergen to jointly develop the mine.

Exergen aims to build a 50 tonnes per annum demonstration facility that will utilise its continuous hydrothermal dewatering technology, which can reduce emissions by up to 40% when used with modern coal-fired power stations.

To date, Mantle has executed preliminary agreements with Exergen on the project.

While a mining licence for the project has not yet been granted, fierce community opposition to the proposed mine has already arisen following Mantle’s exploration activities.

Wheat and barley farmer Kate Tubbs, whose land is reportedly located behind three drill holes, told Melbourne’s The Age she would not allow her land to be used for mining purposes.

''We're quite adamant that we're not going to allow them on to our property,'' Tubbs was quoted as saying.

Friends of the Earth campaign co-coordinator Cam Walker told ILN the locals were concerned about the impacts a mine would have on their livelihood.

“Speaking with a lot of the residents, they will continue resisting it,” Walker said.

“The vast majority of the people I’ve spoken to have not been happy, they do not support the project and they effectively feel that farm land is more important than short-term coal production.

“At this point the company said that it’s heartened by its findings thus far with its drilling and we say it would be far better to put in place a moratorium at the state level until the government can investigate the impacts of new coal operations on rural communities.”

Responding to community concerns surrounding the proposed mine, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu told reporters the project would comply with Victorian mining laws.

“I can assure the people of Bacchus Marsh, indeed all Victorians, that all the environmental processes around mining will continue to apply,”Sky News quoted him as saying.

“We're a long way from any decisions.”

But Walker slammed the government’s handling of proposed mine developments in the state.

“Its worrying to hear that the Victorian government is saying that the current laws are sufficient and we would argue that current laws regarding access to farmland by mineral resource companies favours the companies at the expense of the environment and the landowner,” he said.

Mantle Mining managing director Ian Kraemer did not respond to ILN’ request for comment.

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