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news article - geelong advertiser

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    Article from the Geelong Advertiser. Doesn't sound too crash hot, plenty of "green" support.

    There is a comments page worth reading as well.

    Otways brown coal mine bid

    Carl Dickens | July 18th, 2011

    A MINING giant's bold bid to probe 500sq km of land near the Otway national park for coal faces a fight from angry residents and politicians opposed to the plan.

    The Mantle Mining Corporation has applied to the State Government for a licence to drill to determine levels of brown coal over a large stretch of farmland from near Winchelsea down to Forrest, southeast of Colac.

    If the Government grants the exploration licence, Mantle would likely then seek to surface mine the 499sq km area for wet, brown coal, then use new technology to dry the coal and make it suitable for international export from Geelong Port in years to come.

    Victorian Greens senator Richard Di Natale, who lives in Deans Marsh, said the bid was baffling given the recent national spotlight on renewable energy and climate change.

    "It's absolutely crazy stuff to contemplate, this has the potential to do a lot of environmental damage," he said.

    "We've just managed to get logging out of the Otways and now they want to turn it into a coal mine.
    Your Say

    "state government should rule this out now, i bet my property valve has dramaticly fullen, come on andrew and Terry represent the community not coal miners. "

    "A lot of people in the local community I've spoken to are quite upset about the idea."

    The earmarked area skirts national park land, and contains the historic Deans Marsh and Wensleydale brown coalfields, which were formerly mined from the 1920s until the 1950s.

    In a recent release to the national stock exchange, Mantle said it "considers the potential for discovery of additional brown coal deposits and extensions of the historic areas to be very high".

    "Mantle is seeking to apply brown coal upgrade technology in order to develop a new coal export industry," the release also said.

    "There is a high level of prospectivity to define additional coal deposits within the project area."

    Wensleydale resident Judy Cameron said she found the company's bid "really hard to believe".

    "At first I thought this was some kind of joke ... this is all beautiful farming land here," she said.

    "With all that we know about climate change and what's happening in the world, we should be working right away from coal anyway."

    A spokesman for Energy Minister Michael O'Brien would not be drawn on likely a outcome of Mantle's bid yesterday.

    "An exploration licence application has been lodged and all proper processes will be followed in a transparent manner, including community consultation," the spokesman said.

    "Production is not permitted on an exploration licence."

    Mantle Mining spokesman Ian Kraemer could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

    Concerned residents will gather at a public meeting in Deans Marsh next Wednesday to discuss the mining company's bid.
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