THE chief executive of a Western Australian-based mining company will attend a public meeting in Mirboo North after being granted four coal exploration licences.
Mantle Mining CEO Ian Kraemer will explain the company’s intentions for four controversial coal exploration licences granted by the State Government in June this year.
The licences cover almost 500 square kilometres across the Latrobe Valley and South Gippsland, including the surrounds of Mirboo North, Callignee, Jeeralang and Carrajung.
Mirboo North Coal and CSG Free spokesman Phil Piper called the visit a “coup” for the environmental group.
“It’s a huge area that’s affected, consisting of highly productive farmland and remnant bushland,” Mr Piper said.
“So we’ll see concerned people from all over the region attending the meeting to hear what Mantle Mining has in store for them.”
Mirboo North beef farmer Fergus O’Connor said he was shocked to see the exploration licences were given the nod over such valuable farmland.
“We are sitting on a jewel in the crown of agricultural land,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Three per cent of the nation’s arable land in Victoria produces 26 per cent of the nation’s food. We shouldn’t tamper with agriculture.”
Energy Resources and Industry Minister Lily D’Ambrosio travelled to Mirboo North to consult with Mirboo North Coal and CSG Free last month while launching her Victoria’s Renewable Energy Roadmap in Morwell.
Ms D’Ambrosio said while she had no authority to rescind or revoke exploration licences, the granting of an exploration licence did not open the door to full mining licences.
She said she would also examine the process of making applications for a variety of licences.
The public meeting will be held from 1pm on Sunday, 18 October at Walter J Tuck Reserve, Strzelecki Highway, Mirboo North.