Metgasco awaits court decision on suspension

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Crowds at Bentley Blockade PHOTO: Veda Dante
Crowds at Bentley Blockade PHOTO: Veda Dante

THE MINING company that sparked the Bentley Blockade anti-CSG protests will learn today whether the NSW Government acted outside its powers in suspending its operations.

The NSW Supreme Court will hand down its decision on whether the government's cancellation of Metgasco's exploration licence near Lismore was lawful.

Legal action began last year following the suspension of the company's well drilling approval in April.

Metgasco issued a statement saying the government did not have the power to take such action and, even if it had, it did not follow the correct legal procedures or afford the company procedural fairness.

"The decision to suspend the drilling activity based on Metgasco's community consultation could not have been made rationally," the statement said.

Speaking at the Australian Domestic Gas Outlook conference last month, Metgasco managing director Peter Henderson said the company was keen to recommence drilling.

"We had no choice but to commence legal action in NSW's Supreme Court to have the suspension lifted, which we have done," he said.

"Metgasco has made it clear that we would prefer to settle the matter out of court and to work with government to create a gas business in NSW.

"Perhaps the biggest disappointment, however, has been that the government, and industry, has allowed the energy debate to be hijacked by the Greens."

The decision will be handed down in Sydney from 10am today.