A groundswell of support for the campaign against a proposed open cut coalmine is taking place in Victoria’s Bacchus Marsh area and beyond.
This growing support for the No New Coal in Bacchus Marsh campaign was on display at a recent public meeting in the town, where a lawyer from the Environment Defenders Office spoke to a packed hall on the legal implications of mining and what can be done to stop the present exploratory drilling and proposed mine.
The Moorabool Environment Group (MEG) has officially joined its friends from northern states in the Lock the Gate Alliance against coal and coal seam gas mining. MEG is one of several Victorian groups to join the Lock The Gate campaign.
The small, local environment group is joining hundreds of local farmers and town residents, the Greens, environment groups such as Friends of The Earth, Environment Victoria, Switch Off Coal, and others concerned for the sustainable future of the land, water and the planet.
Mantel Mining is the company that is now drilling 15 exploration core holes for a coalmine in the Bacchus Marsh area. The area is large — 38,000 hectares. Mantel Mining, after analysing the first four core samples has excitedly reported to the media that it expects to mine between 1 and 2 billion tonnes of coal, said Moorabool News on October 11.
Mantel is working with an energy technology company, Exergen, to develop what they call a “clean coal” technology. This involves pumping huge quantities of water down the mine. It is still a pilot program.
Mantel proposes to then dry the coal and send it to Geelong, from where it will be exported to India. Locals are worried the state government will give Mantel the go-ahead to open the mine
Opposition to a new coalmine is on three levels. First, locals do not want to see prime agricultural land dug up and destroyed for coal. The area from Bacchus Marsh to Geelong is a food bowl, producing fruit, vegetables, grains and livestock.
The mine would also severely affect water tables and our precious water is needed for food, not coal.
Second, coalmining is irresponsible on a national level as it contradicts national government policy on climate change and a commitment to lowering Australia’s carbon footprint.
Finally, on a global level it is wrong to export polluting fossil fuels to developing nations and add to global warming — Australia’s export of fossil fuels flies in the face of all it has said at international conferences on climate change.
Please join us in the No New Coal Bacchus Marsh campaign by taking action. Write to Victorian government ministers, sign a petition (available on request) or contact Mantel Mining. Our aim is stop exploratory drilling and avoid a mining lease being given to Mantel Mining. With strong support from all of us, local and beyond, this can and must be achieved.
[Rose De la Cruz is a member of the Moorabool Environment Group. For details visit its website.]