A MOVE from AGL to retain the rights of an estimated two billion tonnes of brown coal extends a period of uncertainty for about 30 landholders in Flynn.
The retention licence application to the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation last month is the latest development since an exploration licence over the Flynn region was first granted to Australian Power and Energy Limited in 2002.
Flynn Creek beef and sheep farmer and Flynn Landowners Coal and Consultative Committee member, Jeff Rathjen said coal licenses were a “blight on the ground”, and estimated land had decreased in value by 20 per cent.
“People won’t buy into it and it’s hard to sell it to outsiders. It’s the uncertainty of it all,” Mr Rathjen said.
“As soon as there is a mining licence, it devalues the ground straight away.”
An AGL spokesperson said a work program had been submitted to the State Government for approval as part of the licence program, and includes exploration activities, coal testing, geotechnical investigations and feasibility studies.
“It does not give AGL an automatic right to mine the resource and a mining licence application would not be considered until all investigations were completed,” the spokesperson said.
“AGL Loy Yang has applied for this retention licence to support our ongoing work in the development of projects that support the sustainable development of Loy Yang’s brown coal resources.”
Environment Victoria made a submission earlier this month to the State Government to withdraw AGL’s licence.
Safe climate campaign manager Nicholas Aberle said more than 900 submissions agreed that AGL did not need the coal to test new coal processing technology, as claimed in its work plan.
Mr Aberle said when AGL received the coal allocation in 2002 after a competitive tender process, it was granted on the basis it would deliver a clean coal power station.
“The basis on which they were given this coal has not materialised,” he said.
“The reality is the existing mine at Loy Yang is more than enough to do what testing they need to do, there’s no reason for them to keep this existing allocation.”
AGL Loy Yang will conduct consultation with the Latrobe Valley community in relation to the retention licence with a public forum scheduled to be held in Traralgon in March.