1.2.2.1.1 Exploration licences


Twenty-eight mineral exploration licenses (as at 19 May 2015) in the Gippsland Basin bioregion have selected brown coal, black coal and/or coal seam gas (CSG) as their target mineral for exploration (Figure 9). Under the same exploration licence, a company may also nominate other minerals, such as mineral sands. CSG activities in Victoria are governed by Victoria’s Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA), however shale and tight gas are regulated under Victoria’s Petroleum Act 1998 (Petroleum Act). Sixteen of the 28 licences have selected CSG as one of their target commodities. Table 9 lists the owners and status of the licences shown in Figure 9. The majority of CSG activity carried out to date is limited to desktop studies, although there has been some drilling (e.g. Gastar Exploration Ltd, 2005).

Ignite Energy Resources Limited (IER) currently holds the largest mining exploration licence (EL) in the Gippsland Basin bioregion (EL 4416), which covers an area of 3837 km2 (Figure 9). This licence includes the recognised coalfields of Longford, Boodyarn, Stradbroke, Greenmount, Alberton East and Gelliondale. IER's operations are divided into three subsidiaries: Ignite Resources, Gippsland Gas and Licella. Licella has developed a modified Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) technology that rapidly converts wet biomass (plant material) into 'BioCrude' oil and high-value bio-chemicals. IER currently has plans to exploit the relatively shallow brown coal at Gelliondale using conventional brown coal mining and upgrade with its Cat-HTR process. The 6.2 billion tonne (Bt) Gelliondale deposit consists of thick, shallow seams (less than 200 m depth and 100 m overburden) of lignite with low impurities – 6.2% ash and 0.9% sulfur (IER, 2015b).

IER consider that the deeper lignite seams within EL 4416 contain biogenic natural gas and are planning to investigate this potential with further drilling and gas testing (IER, 2015a).

An independent report by MHA Petroleum Consultants, commissioned by Ignite Energy Resources, has estimated that EL 4416 hosts a 3.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) natural gas contingent resource (2C – best estimate of a contingent resource) (IER, 2015a). However, it is currently unclear how this resource estimate was calculated as no gas content is known to have been measured.

The other advanced coal resource exploration/appraisal project in the Gippsland Basin bioregion is in EL 5173 (Figure 9), 8 km south-west of Longford. Verso Energy Pty Ltd plan to use microbial coal conversion (MCC), targeting the Traralgon seams as part of its Coolung pilot project (Verso Energy, 2015), which sits within the Coolungoolun coalfield.

Figure 9

Figure 9 Coal exploration (exploration licences), retention and mining licences within the Gippsland Basin bioregion

EL = exploration licence

Data: Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Dataset 1)

Table 9 Current coal exploration licences in the Gippsland Basin bioregion

Tenement number

Owner

First grant date

Expiry date

Current area (km2)

First granted area (km2)

Status description

Commodity

EL 4416

Ignite Energy Resources Ltd

12 Apr 2001

11 Apr 2017

3837

2100

Current

Antimony; Base metals (copper/lead/zinc); Black coal; Brown coal; CSG; Diamonds; Gold; Kaolin; Mineral sands; Platinum; Silver

EL 4500

Greenpower Natural Gas Pty Ltd

5 Oct 2000

5 Oct 2014

339

487

Renewal

CSG; Mineral sands

EL 4683

AGL Loy Yang Pty Ltd

14 Dec 2005

13 Dec 2013

34

34

Section 16A

Black coal; Brown coal; Gold; Platinum; Silver

EL 4877

Sawells Pty Ltd

10 Aug 2005

9 Aug 2014

170

269

Renewal

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5119

Mecrus Resources Pty Ltd

18 Apr 2013

17 Apr 2018

33

33

Current

Base metals (copper/lead/zinc); Black coal; Brown coal; Kaolin

EL 5170

Latrobe Fuels Ltd

84

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG; Gold; Mineral sands; Platinum; Silver

EL 5173

Verso Energy Pty Ltd

8 Apr 2009

7 Apr 2014

35

47

Renewal

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5210

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

3 Jun 2009

2 Jun 2014

46

62

Renewal

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5212

Resolve Geo Pty Ltd

3 Jun 2009

2 Jun 2014

22

30

Renewal

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5227

Greenpower Natural Gas Pty Ltd

11 Nov 2009

10 Nov 2014

305

349

Renewal

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5270

Basin Coal Pty Ltd

9 Jun 2010

8 Jun 2015

374

944

Current

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5274

ECI International Pty Ltd

309

0

Application

CSG

EL 5275

ECI International Pty Ltd

313

0

Application

CSG

EL 5276

ECI International Pty Ltd

7 Jul 2010

6 Jul 2015

366

488

Current

CSG

EL 5320

ECI International Pty Ltd

7 Apr 2011

6 Apr 2016

258

344

Current

CSG

EL 5321

ECI International Pty Ltd

7 Apr 2011

6 Apr 2016

299

399

Current

CSG

EL 5322

ECI International Pty Ltd

97

0

Application

CSG

EL 5333

Commonwealth Mining Pty Ltd

7 Apr 2011

6 Apr 2016

34

45

Current

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5334

Commonwealth Mining Pty Ltd

26 Mar 2012

25 Mar 2017

25

25

Current

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5336

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

368

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5337

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

20 Apr 2011

19 Apr 2016

148

201

Current

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5338

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

3

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5394

Commonwealth Mining Pty Ltd

26 Mar 2012

25 Mar 2017

170

170

Current

Black coal; Brown coal; Mineral sands

EL 5416

Leichhardt Resources Pty Ltd

542

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal; CSG

EL 5428

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

21

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5429

Mantle Mining Corporation Ltd

29

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal

EL 5442

Commonwealth Mining Pty Ltd

49

0

Application

Black coal; Brown coal; Mineral sands

EL 5453

Verso Energy Pty Ltd

18 Apr 2013

17 Apr 2018

166

166

Current

Black coal; Brown coal

EL = exploration licence, CSG = coal seam gas

Data: Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Dataset 1)

Last updated:
6 October 2016
Thumbnail of the Gippsland bioregion

Product Finalisation date

22 June 2016