Words and terms can have very specific meanings in relation to mineral and petroleum exploration or production and may be new to you. This section explains some of the key terms you might come across when considering a mineral or petroleum proposal in your area or when negotiating a land access arrangement with an explorer.



See ‘Total Dissolved Solids’.


Thermal coal

Coal used in boilers for generating steam.  Also known as steaming coal.  This coal is used in power generation and as a fuel in cement kilns.


Tight gas

Is unconventional natural gas which is difficult to access because of the nature of the rock and sand surrounding the deposit.



Is a legal instrument which is issued by the NSW Government and which gives a mining or petroleum company an exclusive right to explore, prospect or mine or produce petroleum in a specific area. Examples of titles include Petroleum Exploration Licences, Petroleum Production Leases, (Minerals) Exploration Licences and Mineral Leases.


Total Dissolved Solids

Is a measure of the combined content of all inorganic and organic substances contained in a liquid.


Treated wastewater

Means coal seam gas wastewater that has undergone a process to remove or reduce contaminants to make the water suitable for an alternative use.


Unconventional gas

Natural gas is categorised as either ‘conventional gas’ or ‘unconventional gas’. Conventional gas is easier and cheaper to extract from the ground because of the way the rock formations in the earth trap the gas. Coal Seam Gas is one type of unconventional gas – others include shale gas and tight gas.


Viticulture Critical Industry Cluster

A Critical Industry Cluster is one of the two categories of Strategic Agricultural Land under the NSW Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.

Two Critical Industry Clusters have been mapped to date in NSW – the Equine Critical Industry Cluster and the Viticulture Critical Industry Cluster – both of which are in the Upper Hunter Region.


The boundaries of the Critical Industry Clusters reflect known geographical concentrations of these interrelated industries. It is not intended that the boundaries define areas in which all properties are used for a purpose associated with the equine or viticulture industries.


Water Sharing Plan

Water sharing plans are the main tool used in the Water Management Act 2000 for managing the State’s water resources. They are used to set out the rules for the sharing available water in a particular water source between water users and the environment, and for trading of water in a particular water source.


Water Treatment

This is a generic term describing the many and varied processes used to make water suitable for specific purposes. Examples range from filtration of fresh water to remove sediments and make it suitable for drinking, or reverse osmosis which removes salts and other contaminants.



A well is drilled in order to extract coal seam gas from coal beds. Wells drilled for the purposes of producing coal seam gas are regulated more stringently in NSW to wells (or bores) drilled to produce drinking or stock water.


Well casing

Is the steel lining used to provide the structural basis for a coal seam gas well or core hole.


Well pad

Is an area of land on which a coal seam gas well or wells are located. A coal seam gas well pad is usually about 75 square metres in size.