The immediate future of coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers is likely to be decided at a meeting in Sydney later today.
Metgasco shareholders will vote on whether to accept the State Government’s $20 million buyback offer for three north coast exploration licences.
About a dozen local industry opponents also hope to attend the company’s annual general meeting.
Dean Draper, from Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, said statements issued by the Metgasco board indicated the offer was likely to be accepted.
“They’re telling us that at least 20 per cent of the shareholders, who are major shareholders, are all voting to take the offer,” he said.
“There’s a small minority of about 5 per cent who are angling for a no vote.
“So we’re pretty confident the vote is going to go the right way.
“We go into the meeting and we chat to shareholders and we let them know the community here in the Northern Rivers is not going to allow this industry.
“So whatever happens, we’re going to have a gasfield-free Northern Rivers.
“Let’s just hope that it’s all over now because otherwise it’s just going to cost this company a lot more money, and it’s also going to cost the Government a lot more money as well.”
The parliamentary secretary for the North Coast, National MP Chris Gulaptis, said he hoped the gas company’s shareholders would accept the Government’s offer.
He said that would effectively spell the end for the CSG industry in the region.
“I think it’s democracy in action,” he said.
“We’ve just seen the changing landscape for coal seam gas.
“It was thrust on the Northern Rivers without really any knowledge or understanding of the industry.
“As communities got to better understand how the industry worked, what it meant for the environment, they rejected it.
“That’s the story of mining – mining is a risky investment.”