complete-surrenderFrack Free TasFrack Free Tas

Media Release

Wed 21 Sept 2016

Fracking Explorer Surrenders Mining Licence


Petragas, the company who had an exploration license for shale gas in the Midlands region of Tasmania has surrendered their license, less than half way through the five-year license period.

The company, in their final report, cited these key reasons for abandoning their license:

  • Tasmania’s 5 year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing
  • High public concern with regards to gas mining exploration in Tasmania
  • Ongoing poor investment returns from fossil fuel production

Petragas have decided to take a new business direction with lower risk and higher growth potential. As a consequence, the Board elected to make application to Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT) to surrender their exploration licence EL3/2013 in June 2016. (Petragas, 2016)

Frack Free Tas inc. are celebrating this clear response to the community and industry groups standing up to point out how incompatible an industrialised gas mining landscape would be for our state.

frack-free-tas-team-celebrate2“We relish this massive victory.  The fact that the company cited high public concern as an obstacle shows they heard the community voice loud and clear.”  said Frack Free Tas President, Shaun Thurstans. “But we are disappointed at the lack of a public announcement from the company nor the government”.

The company had significantly reduced their exploration license area by 43% earlier this year, and now have surrendered it completely.  Both times there was no announcement to the public nor the stock exchange, only to Mineral Resources Tasmania.

“This company has a very poor record of communicating with the local landowners and this silent retreat is consistent with past behaviour. I think they were surprised by the level of angst and concern from the community, as soon as their application for an exploration licence was advertised in the newspaper in July 2013.”

Brett Hall who had a farm in the initial exploration area stated that “We saw an amazing community backlash to the original application for this exploration license and a rousing call to ban the practice of using fracking altogether when the government invited public submissions into their review.”

“Congratulations to the eight South East Midlands Communities, who earlier this year declared themselves ‘Gasfield Free’, with 99.6% of residents supportive, a couple were undecided but not even one person amongst all the people surveyed wanted Gas Mining in their community. Such an overwhelming response from these communities to reject gas mining obviously influenced this decision by Petragas.”

“With the large number of people getting involved and identifying fracking as dangerous practice that clearly should not be allowed near our groundwater, farmland, ecosystems or families, the time has clearly come for a Permanent Ban on Fracking for any purpose in Tasmania.”

Shaun Thurstans also says the onus is on the Tasmanian government to ban unconventional gas extraction including hydraulic fracturing.

“The game is up.  Victoria have permanently banned all unconventional onshore activities, listening to their farmers concerns about their brand and their water.  I don’t know if any other place on Earth is more dependent on their clean green image than Tasmania.  If New York, France, Bulgaria, Scotland and Nova Scotia can ban it, surely we can too”

“This company, Petragas, listened to the community and moved in a new direction, now the government can too.”  Frack Free Tas call on the state government to immediately legislate a permanent ban on all unconventional gas activities including hydraulic fracturing.

“If they seek more conclusive evidence they should just read the damming submissions and reports from Victoria’s review of onshore gas, then get on and give Tasmania some certainty”.

“It is the easiest gesture of support that they could give for our economy and our way of life”.


Petragas, 2016.  Final annual report Kempton Project EL3/2013 for the period 16th January 2016 to 17th June 2016.  EL3_2013_2016_01Final_Report.pdf.  Viewed at: (search for EL3/2013)



Contact Details:

Shaun Thurstans, President, Frack Free Tas.

0438 306 542

Brett Hall, Community empowerment officer, Frack Free Tas.

0499 012 032


Click for:

Media release word doc

Final Petragas report


Project works scheduled for Year 3 of the licence were ground magneto-telluric and potentially ground gravity surveys to aid depth and structure modelling of the Tasmania Basin. This work, given the high level of public concern regarding any form of exploration activity relating to petroleum and gas exploration in the Midlands of Tasmania, would necessitate a high level of prior public consultation before any ground activities could occur.


In May 2016, early in the current term the Company elected to change business direction. As a result no further exploration activities were undertaken and the licence surrendered in June 2016.