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Government forced to backtrack on CSG pronouncements

The NSW Government has had to withdraw promotional material that was telling potential international investors that the Northern Rivers had “very good potential” for coal seam gas exploration. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “the marketing material was prepared by NSW Trade and Investment bureaucrats and presented in March to a Toronto conference of more than 20,000 mining investors from more than 100 countries”. Promotional information regarding this conference (xplorpak-2016-showcasing-nsw-to-international-investors) has been removed from the government’s website. This follows a similar gaffe when the recently released draft North Coast Regional Plan included several references to the future of CSG mining in the region. Planning Minister Rob Stokes subsequently told the Independent: “The NSW Government has no intention to revive coal seam gas on the north coast. “…While the coal seam gas resource may exist – we have no plans for it to be developed.” In December last year the Nationals trumpeted that “the party has secured a CSG-free Northern Rivers”. The NSW Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) released the following statement: “The NSW Division of Resources and Energy is fully aware that the NSW Government policy is that there will be no further petroleum or gas exploration or production in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. “Promotional materials produced by the Division and used at various investor conferences does acknowledge where gas finds and mineral deposits have been identified across the state. “It is with regret that we acknowledge that these materials did not make clear that while gas resources may have been identified in these areas, they will not be released for any exploration or production activities in the Northern Rivers. “The same promotional material also highlighted NSW’s policies and potential with respect to Uranium. “The materials do set out that whilst the ban was lifted from exploring for uranium in NSW, it remains a declared mineral and the ban on mining Uranium in NSW remains. “DRE acknowledges and accepts that our materials may have given the impression that exploring for Uranium in NSW is a current opportunity for investors. “We acknowledge that this is not in line with the Government’s resources agenda and regret that this information has been shared in this way. “These department promotional materials have been withdrawn. “New processes to ensure that any future promotional materials align with Government policies are being implemented.”