Underground coal gasification banned in Queensland

Underground coal gasification has been officially banned in Queensland.
Underground coal gasification has been officially banned in Queensland.

Underground coal gasification will be officially banned in Queensland under legislation introduced in parliament this week.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 would implement the Palaszczuk Government’s decision to prohibit UCG in Queensland.

“The Palaszczuk Government has carefully considered the results of trials at two UCG pilot projects undertaken to establish the commercial and environmental viability of this potential industry,” Dr Lynham said.

“The government has concluded that with the potential impacts of UCG activities and the issues associated with the trial projects to date, the risks of allowing UCG projects to grow to commercial scale are not acceptable and outweigh the foreseeable benefits.

“Accordingly, the Palaszczuk Government had decided not to allow the development of a commercial-scale UCG industry in Queensland.”

The ban will also apply the in situ underground gasification of oil shale.

Dr Lynham said the legislation also provided for the necessary work involved in decommissioning Queensland’s remaining existing UCG pilot project.

“While UCG activities will be prohibited in Queensland, the remaining existing UCG pilot project will still need to carry out those activities necessary for environmental rehabilitation, and the decommissioning and removal of plant and equipment related to carrying out UCG activities,” Dr Lynham said.

In April, the government banned UCG immediately, arguing the environmental risks outweigh economic benefits. But the ban has not been made official through legislation until this week.

The immediate ban earlier this year came after UCG pilot company Linc Energy went into voluntary administration. The company has also been in the courts facing environmental charges at its trial site in Chinchilla.