BACCHUS Marsh residents are demanding action from the government before a mining group has its coal mine exploration license extended in the region.
The licence is due to expire on March 22 and while it does not include any plans for construction of an actual mine, environmental groups believe it could be the first steps towards such a project.
The licence is jointly held by companies Mantle Mining and Exergen.
Moorabool Environment Group president Ben Courtice said his understanding was that these licenses were generally renewed.
However, in this case Mr Courtice was asking the government to put the extension on hold.
“We haven’t had any negative push back against us from the community and certainly have a lot of support,” he said.
“You can take that as a pretty good sign of support from community.
“Exploration is a foot in the door, they have to spend resources on it to do the exploration.
“If they find something they will go ahead with (building a mine) if they have invested money in it.”
A spokesperson from the Victorian government said no decision had been made on the exploration license extension but confirmed it expired on March 22.
Mantle Mining exploration manager for Coal Mark Maxwell said the company was applying for the extension as it required more information on the coal deposits in the area.
“Normally if the first term of the lease expires and you haven’t finished the work, we need to do you apply for another term,” he said.
“Basically we would like to do some more drilling to further define the resource.”
He also said there was still not enough information to definitively say whether or not a mine was practical in the area.
“Obviously it depends on the economics at the time, the economics are not there at the moment but whether the situation improves in the future that is what will determine whether a mine is feasible or not,” Mr Maxwell said.
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