Search for gas concerns gasfield free supporters

A special prospecting authority, which could be approved for land in the Shire of Chittering is close to Muchea, Gingin and Bindoon. Picture: Frack Free WA/Facebook

THE McGowan Government’s is considering granting special prospecting authority for Macallum Group to survey 73sqkm in the Shire of Chittering, which has concerned gasfield free supporters.

According to a state government notice about the special prospecting authority the north-east corner of the area is about 15km south-west of Bindoon while the north-west corner is about 17km south of Gingin.

The south-west corner of the area is about 5.1km west of Muchea while the south-east corner is about 2.8km east of the town.

Gasfield Free Chittering spokesman Wayne Charles said a small gas exploration company had applied to do an aerial survey within 3km of Muchea and seismic surveying just north of Bindoon.

Mr Charles said there was only a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing while the state government holds an inquiry, but there are no constraints on other gas exploration techniques being used in our area,” he said.

“The Macallum group have previously indicated that they are looking at tight gas in this region, which is an unconventional form of gas that would need to be fracked to extract,’’ he said.

“Unconventional gas mining involves vast gasfields that spread over large areas and typically include multitudes of gas wells, roads, pipelines, compressor stations and waste water treatment, as well as bring a real risk of water and air pollution.’’

A state government notice about the special prospecting authority says the area is intersected by four petroleum pipelines – the Parmelia mainline, the Dampier to Bunbury, natural gas pipeline, the Chandala lateral and the Neerabup gas lateral – and the Brand and Great Northern highways.

The Macallum Group website says Macallum controls 100 per cent of EP494 in the Perth Northern Basin, which was granted in May, 2015 and covers 2581sqkm.

“Areas within this lease are considered prospective for conventional oil and gas plays,’’ the website said.

“MGL has reviewed and interpreted past seismic work and applied leading edge exploration techniques to define structural and stratigraphic leads and that two target areas have been identified which may have the potential to become significant prospects with further work.

“Importantly, both areas are close to existing pipeline infrastructure.”

The state government notice says the Mines and Petroleum Minister (Bill Johnston) may grant the special prospecting authority.

The notice said under section 30 of the Native Title Act 1993 persons have until three months after the notification day to take certain steps to become native title parties in relation to any of the land and waters that would be affected by the act.

The three month period closes on September 13.

The special prospecting authority may be granted unless within a period of four months after the notification day being October 13, a native title party lodges and objection with the National Native Title Tribunal.

Lock the Gate Alliance coordinator Simone van Hattem said landholders had a renewed concern with regards to the most recent applications for exploration and have said they wanted to protect their land and water.

Ms van Hattem said landowners could learn about the risks of shale and tight gas fracking and how communities in other parts of Australia had fought back against invasive unconventional gasfields by attending meetings organised for Bindoon and Muchea.

The Bindoon meeting will start at 7pm on Thursday, July 12 at Bindoon Town Hall, Gt Northern Hwy Bindoon.

The Muchea meeting will start at 7pm on Friday, July 20 at the Muchea Community Hall, 48 Archibald St, Muchea.

For more information contact Simone van Hattem on 0421 389 013.

Macallum Group has been contacted for comment.