Linc energy: Criminal proceedings in doubt

The immediate ban earlier this year came after UCG pilot company Linc Energy went into voluntary administration.
The immediate ban earlier this year came after UCG pilot company Linc Energy went into voluntary administration.

Criminal proceedings against failed resources company Linc Energy are in doubt after liquidators indicated they wouldn’t answer environmental harm charges.

The company went into administration in April, after it was committed to stand trial on five charges relating to environmental breaches at its Chinchilla underground coal gasification site, north-west of Brisbane.

During a committal hearing earlier this year, it was alleged that fugitive gases from the site – including carbon monoxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide – polluted a widespread area of up to 6m underground. The Queensland Government-commissioned study found the area contaminated was prime cropping land.

The prosecution yesterday presented an indictment against Linc Energy in Brisbane’s District Court.

Ralph Devlin QC, representing the Department of Public Prosecutions, said the company intended to plead not guilty, meaning the matter would proceed to trial.

“Obviously, the key question in Your Honour’s mind that you may have satisfied yourself is about whether there is a public interest in so proceeding,” he said, as reported by ABC News.

“The DPP, those who instruct me, have considered that matter and determined the indictment should proceed.”

However, lawyers for Linc Energy’s liquidators told the court they would be making an application to the Supreme Court under the Corporations Act.