are Hancocks negotiating access to coal or gas companies?
Melbourne-based HVP is one of Australia’s largest private timber plantation companies. The company is owned jointly by Australian and US superannuation and investment funds.
HVP manages around 240,000 hectares of plantations across Victoria, including 50,000 hectares of native vegetation for conservation, across 5 areas:
· South west
· Ballarat area
· Central Victoria
· North east Victoria
Hancock’s forestry practises have often been criticised (this is catalogued on the Hancock Watch website).
Victoria is experiencing a rush of exploration for ‘unconventional’ gas and experimental new coal projects, with large swaths of the state now under coal, coal seam gas, or tight gas exploration licenses.
This is being strongly resisted by many in the community, and community pressure has lead to the state government announcing a moratorium on the process of fracking. However, exploration for gas and coal can continue.
Many individual land owners are ‘locking the gate’ to miners. Local communities are also declaring themselves CSG or coal free.
A weak point in the community defence is the fact that Hancocks manage large areas of land within a number of exploration licences. The company has previously allowed exploration activities by mining companies on their lands.
For instance, in September 2007, it allowed access to the Giffard plantation in Wellington Shire (later renamed Lacey Plantation) by Lakes Oil. Drilling occurred in this plantation during that year.
[image: the Echidna drill rig in Giffard Plantation, Wellington Shire]
In early October 2012, Friends of the Earth wrote to HVP asking them to publically commit to ruling out any further exploration agreements with mining companies. They have not responded to this letter.
Landowners and communities in the Strezlecki Ranges in particular have expressed their concern that while they can lock their gates and communities to gas and coal explorers, they cannot control what Hancocks may choose to do. Given the company has in the past negotiated access to a gas company, it is not unreasonable to assume they may do so again.
If you see something, say something
We are building a database of the physical location of all exploration and drilling operations across Gippsland, and will also pass these details on to the relevant local group active in campaigning against CSG and coal. Where we have names of companies we will follow up directly with them.
If you are working or travelling near Hancocks lands, please keep an eye out for any potential mining or exploration activity and call the Drill Watch number with details.
Please call 1300 852 081 (cost of a local call from anywhere in Victoria). When you get the voice message, hit 22 to go to the voicemail of Quit Coal and leave a message with as many details as you can:
· where you observed activity,
· what was going on,
· any details on the company involved (eg names of side of trucks) and
· your contact details if you don’t mind us following up with you
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell Hancocks you want them to rule out doing a deal with a coal or gas company.
HVP, 3rd Floor, 517 Flinders Lane Melbourne, Victoria Australia 3000
Tel.: (+61) (03) 9289 1400
This initiative is supported by:
Lock the Gate Gippsland,
Community Over Mining,
Friends of the Earth,
Friends of Gippsland Mirboo North, and
Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group.
The area in black is the land under exploration licence 4681 (held by Monash Energy, who are looking for coal).
The orange colour is land managed by HVP.