Fears that any drilling for Coal Bed Methane near Wrecsam could accidentally strike the flooded coal workings at Gresford colliery have been raised.
The concerns were aired by a former mining surveyor who worked at the mine before it closed in 1972 at a public meeting in Saith Seren, Wrecsam, this week. Phil Owen, of Wrecsam, explained that any drilling to extract methane from the coal seams could easily breach the old workings from Gresford, which spread close to the planned test borehole near Borras.
He vowed there would be mass opposition to any such move, given that there are still hundreds of bodies of dead miners interred after the 1934 explosion.
The meeting organised by North-East Wales Against Fracking Action was attended by about 50 concerned local residents and activists. They heard detailed opposition by Paul Mobbs, an environmentalist who also spoke in Oswestry on the same subject. For more detail on Paul's excellent analysis of the situation see Oswestryi.com's report.
Locally, energy companies are interested in extracting methane gas from deep coal seams. This is unlike the shale gas extraction more common in the US. The place to look for the history of coal bed methane extraction is Australia. Dart energy, the company owning licences to drill from Oswestry up to Wrexham, moved its operations to the UK last year when Australia tightened up its environmental regulation of the industry. The coal bed methane story is covered in a 45-minute documentary made by the Australian equivalent of Panorama (at the foot of this post).
More than 100 people signed a petition against local fracking on Saturday.
For more information on the planned test drilling at Commonwood Farm, Borras, Wrecsam, and its implications for the whole of the area, see Paul's page.