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Queensland moratorium on underground coal gasification

The Queensland Government has passed legislation that places a moratorium  on all underground coal gasification (UCG) activities, including the in situ gasification of oil shale.

The moratorium follows the prohibition of all UCG activities, and the in situ gasification of oil shale by the Queensland Government in April 2016.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, said while creating jobs for regional Queenslanders and boosting the economy is a priority for the Queensland Government, the risks that UCG posed outweighed any potential positives.

“In 2009, the Queensland Government established a process for three companies to trial UCG operations on a small scale,” Mr Lynham said.

“An independent scientific panel report on the pilot trials found that sufficient scientific and technical information was not yet available to reach a final conclusion about the operation of this industry on a commercial scale.

“Issues associated with two of the three trial projects and the uncertainty about commercial scale operations, have highlighted significant risks with this industry which are just not acceptable.

“Queensland prides itself on the stringent environmental, health and safety standards we have in place and there are countless resource companies successfully operating within this regulatory framework.”

UCG involves converting coal to a synthesised gas by burning coal underground. The syngas is processed on surface to create products such as aviation fuels and synthetic diesel.

It is a vastly different process to coal seam gas production, which is successfully managed in Queensland within the regulatory framework.

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