A subsidiary of Cockatoo Coal has begun drilling exploratory wells in the Belanglo State Forest.
Hume Coal’s operations in the state forest are not affected by the moratorium on all new mining and exploration in New South Wales that was brought in from yesterday.
The new ban on mining exploration, to allow for better consultation between mining companies and landholders will not impact Hume’s project, as the approvals had been in place for some time, the company’s Community Liaison Manager Julie Gander told the ABC.
"That announcement that was made only refers to new exploration programs and the exploration lease that we hold down here has been in place for twenty years so it’s only a moratorium on any new work being proposed,” she said.
Local Member Pru Howard has warned that exploration approvals will not necessarily mean mining can be carried out there.
She told the ABC the government is working on new assessment criteria for coal and gas mining.
"So I am confident that the lobbying that we have put in as a community over the past year will ensure that when and if Cockatoo Coal were to move forward and propose actual mining that there would be a strong policy in place that would test that proposition,” she said.
Gander said in coming weeks, the company will sink test wells up to a hundred metres deep over thirty sites.
The new ban on mining in New South Wales introduced yesterday was the delivery of a promise made by the state Liberals in the lead up to the election earlier this year.
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