It's been around 13 years since land in the Gloucester basin started being acquired for the proposed Rocky Hill Coal Mine project, but now Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) has decided to put its properties back on the market.
Some of GRL's holdings were put up for sale at the end of 2020, marking a further end to an incredibly tense time in the community. After two attempts to get an open cut mine approved on the edge of town, GRL pulled the plug on the project in May 2019. The final decision came after the NSW Land and Environment Court dismissed the company's appeal against Department of Planning and Environment's (DPE) for refusing its development application (DA) for the Gloucester coal mine.
Leading up to GRL's second-attempted DA lodged in 2016, the mining company had purchased the necessary properties within the proposed mine project area.
According to the NSW Government's Mining, Exploration and Geoscience website, while "landholders in NSW own the surface land of their properties, most resources that exist below the earth's surface belong to the state of NSW". And while it's not a requirement for a mining company to purchase the land during exploration, "a mining lease may not be granted over the surface of any land within 200 metres of a dwelling house that is the principal place of residence of the person occupying it, 50 metres of a garden or over any significant improvements". Due to the proposed location Rocky Hill Mine, GRL opted for the acquisition of land.
Four months after the May 2019 announcement by GRL to not proceed, the company conducted exploration activities in the area of one of its three licences held in the Gloucester basin. Since then there has been little activity from company until recently.
After rumours around town that the company was looking to sell out of the region, GRL confirmed that some properties were back on the market.
"Gloucester Resources is currently in the process of rationalising its landholdings in the Gloucester region," a spokesperson for GRL said. "Various properties have already been sold, others have been listed for sale, and some will remain with GRL for the time being."
Despite having used a Gloucester based real estate agency to purchase and manage the properties, an out-of-town agency is being used for the resale. GRL did not respond to the reasoning behind this decision.
When asked about the its plans for the exploration licences, a spokesperson responded that "GRL has no comment about future endeavours".
GRL has applied for the renewal of all three licences with the status currently pending.