Residents will fight coal mining bid

Bambra's Judy Cameron and her neighbours will fight a mining company’s application to explore for brown coal in Colac district.

DEANS Marsh residents will band together to fight a mining company’s application to explore 499 square kilometres of Crown and public land for brown coal.

They will gather at the Deans Marsh Memorial Hall at 7pm next Wednesday and form a response to Mantle Mining’s bid to search areas around Deans Marsh, Whoorel and Bambra for brown coal.

They are worried about the effect exploration and any mining would have on land value, tourism and the environment – and they say brown coal mining conflicts the Federal Government’s attempts to tackle climate change.

A meeting will discuss plans for coal mining in Colac district.

Deans Marsh resident Shauna Gunn said exploration for coal would “spoil the area”.

“The area they’re looking at is an area where there is a lot of agricultural land, and there’s a lot of people in that area who are growing grape vines and the Otway Harvest Trail has done a lot of work to attract tourists and I don’t think an open-cut mine would sit well with tourists,” she said.

Bambra’s Judy Cameron said she initially thought the application was a joke.

“Then I saw that they were talking about new technology and exporting the coal and then I found out they want to export it to India and it became feasible all of a sudden,” she said.

“Knowing what we know about climate change and pollution, who would consider opening a coal mine?” she said.

Pennyroyal’s Mike Robinson-Koss, who is president of the Otway Agroforestry Network, said he would attend the public meeting and wanted to know more about the company’s application for a five-year licence to explore.

“The area around Deans Marsh I would have thought would be quite sought after in terms of tourism and tree changers – it’s a beautiful part of the world, I can’t see the locals let the area have an open-cut mine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mantle Mining managing director Ian Kraemer said Mantle had access to dewatering technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it was to pursue brown coal deposits around Deans Marsh.

When the Colac Herald asked Mr Kraemer about plans to export any potential coal to India, he said “where any coal might ever go is dependent on supply and demand”.

A Department of Primary Industries spokesman said Mantle would advertise its application in the Colac Herald, after which time Colac district residents will have 21 days to object.

2 Responses to “Residents will fight coal mining bid”

  1. Richard Gilbert

    I agree that Mantle mining will have a fight on its hands. As a tourist operator whose guests use part of the State forest under threat I have no choice but to fight them by whatever means at my disposal. There are more than 250 tourist beds in the Pennyroyal Valley alone, and I would be surprised if the other operators dont take action as well. Mantle will need deep pockets to win on this one!

  2. Jeff and Gina Manger

    Deans Marsh is 15 – 20 minutes drive from the Great Ocean Road. A pristine coast which attracts thousands of tourists. Many of these tourists venture into the Otways and into the farmland of Deans Marsh. It is a developing haven for coastal holiday makers many of whom want to escape the hustle and bustle of Lorne and Aireys Inlet, but are till be able to go to the coast when they so desire. The Mantle Mine Company will have a fight on their hands not only with locals, but with the many people who own holiday homes in the surrounding areas and the Victorians who like to escape to the coast, the Otways and surrounding farmland each year.