AN APPLICATION to search for gas around Myrtle Creek, 30km south of Casino along the Summerland Way has been made to the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas by Clarence Moreton Resources.
The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of East Coast Energy, a privately owned company funded by its directors, Peter Francis and Glen Cunningham, and their families.
While it does not have a major public profile in the region, the company holds partial stakes in three exploration tenements and has previously applied for an exploration licence, PELA135, south of Tabulam and Mallanganee.
Mr Francis said the application was for a "desktop study" which didn't require them to go on to the land.
"We will be reviewing the geological work that has been carried out in the past to see if there is any prospect of activity on that block. Then, if we chose, we could apply for an exploration permit," he said.
He said the Myrtle Creek application was made in 2009 and has come up after another applicant withdrew.
The company also has a 50% stake in PEL457 - which runs from Yamba west to the Summerland Way where the company drilled two exploration boreholes with joint venture partner Red Sky Energy. Red Sky has since sold its interest to ERM Power. Clarence Morton Resources also has a 65% stake in PEL478, west of Grafton.
Mr Francis said given the opposition to gas mining, they were "sensitive to the community's need to have a social licence".
Lock The Gate spokesman Ian Gaillard said anyone looking at gas mining in the Northern Rivers "hasn't heeded the fact that we want the Northern Rivers to be gasfield free and there has been a massive community campaign to achieve that".
"It sounds like another example of a bunch of city-based investors looking to impose mining on the people of the Northern Rivers which we know is totally unsuitable for that purpose and not wanted."