Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coal Seam Gas. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

"Water Is Life" anti-fracking campaign hit Australia's highways on 8 July 2017

Some images from the Water Is Life anti-fracking event held along the nation's highways on Sauturday, 8 July 2017.

Well done, one and all!

*All images found on Twitter

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

People Power in The Pilliga

HuffPost, 8 June 2017:
It's easily the largest dryland forest in NSW (and indeed eastern Australia). The area is a treasure. In addition to its inherent natural beauty, it has a rare far-inland koala population, as well as almost unbelievably pure groundwater…..

The Department of Planning & Environment told HuffPost Australia that Santos will now be asked to provide a detailed response to the issues raised in submissions, and that the Department will seek advice from a range of independent scientific experts.
"There is no fixed time frame for the assessment of the project, but a final decision is not likely until next year," a Department spokesman told us.
You get the impression that Kennedy and many people like her will continue to agitate while they await the decision.
"I would say that this unprecedented enormous number of submissions objecting to this would clearly say to our government that they are wrong, and that they failed to listen to the people," Kennedy said.
"Not failed, but deliberately ignored our constant visits, our endless supply of information and science we provided to them over many years, proving that this industry would destroy our land and water.
"They constantly said that there were just a few selfish ratbag farmers, who wanted to protect their land and water from being destroyed by this industry, and who wanted to be able to continue to supply clean food and water to future generations of Australians.
"They said we were a tiny minority, that most people supported this gas project. The 23,000 submissions prove that its not just a handful of selfish farmers. It is the public. It is all the people who live here and want to continue to eat clean food, drink clean water, and have healthy lives."…..
In addition to threatening the water supply of farmers like Anne Kennedy, contaminated water would have terrible implications for the fauna of the Pilliga, like this adorable little threatened eastern pygmy possum.

Friday, 26 May 2017

NSW nurses & midwives stand with Pilliga-Narrabri communities against Santos coal seam gas project

“Santos expects to build 850 production wells over the next two decades” within the mining lease. ABC NEWS, 10 April 2017, PHOTO: An aerial shot of the Santos CSG exploration project in the Pilliga. (Audience supplied: Dean Sewell)

Echo NetDaily, 19 May 2017:

Local nurses are voicing their concerns about the threat to health in a submission to the government objecting not only to the Santos Narrabri Coal Seam Gas Project, but to all CSG mining across NSW.

It was following a successful motion put forward by the Lismore Base Hospital branch of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association that the a submission was lodged.

‘As nurses and midwives we believe that an ecologically sustainable environment promotes health and wellbeing. We are greatly concerned about the health of communities impacted by CSG’, said Heather Ryan Dunn, midwife and Vice President of the Lismore Base branch of the NSWNMA. ‘We also know that climate change is the biggest threat we are currently facing and that decisions made today will impact greatly on future generations.’

The 20 page submission which includes references to CSG well accidents and risks to human health via contaminated water and air pollution, is one of approximately 12,000 already submitted in response to the EIS, a record breaking and resounding ‘no’ from objectors to the project.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Of Gas and Hot Air

Energy security became a major political issue following a storm-induced blackout in South Australia late last year.  Instead of the massive storm which knocked over the transmission towers being the “villain”, the Prime Minister and his Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg  blamed the state’s level of renewable (wind) energy for the outage. They have persisted with this version of events regardless of all the evidence to the contrary.
In the months since then politicians and others have had a great deal to say about the national energy grid and its shortcomings and renewables and base-load power.  Ideology has played a very significant part in the statements of many politicians. This of course means that truth has often been twisted or completely ignored. 
Recently the focus has been on gas and a predicted gas shortage.
Despite the claims of the Government and many industry players, there is no general gas shortage.  There is, however, a looming domestic shortage because most of the enormous volume of gas being extracted is being exported. 
The Federal Government has rather belatedly recognised that, despite the fact that Australia will soon be the largest gas-exporting country in the world, there will be a shortage of gas for the domestic market.  Moreover, the Government has realised that domestic consumers are paying more for gas than consumers of Australian gas in Japan - even after the cost of processing and transporting of the resource to that country. This has become a rather urgent matter for the Government because domestic gas prices and the uncertainty of supply is hurting local industries.  For a government that talks about jobs and growth, permitting more of our dwindling manufacturing base going either “down the gurgler” or offshore would be politically foolish.
As the Prime Minister’s meetings in recent months with the major gas exporters have not produced the cooperation he hoped for, he recently decided to take further action.  It is action that the industry is unhappy about saying that this will discourage global investment, a claim which is unsubstantiated. There are others, including some in the Government, who believe that this interference in the market is not justified.
What happens elsewhere?  Western Australia, the one Australian state which had the forethought to realise that there was a need to protect local interests, has a gas reservation policy[1]. Many other countries, including Canada, the USA, Israel, Indonesia and Egypt, have various mechanisms to ensure that they won’t end up in the situation that Australia is heading towards.  In their rush to encourage foreign investment, successive Australian Federal Governments failed to see that safeguards to protect domestic gas supplies were needed in the national interest.
Prime Minister Turnbull has stated that his measures will only be needed for the short term because he expects that there will be further development of local gasfields which can service the domestic market. He is referring specifically to NSW and Victoria which have currently stopped unconventional gas mining. (There is an exception in NSW.  Santos’ project in the Pilliga in the north-west is currently going through the planning approval process.)
The Prime Minister is one of many politicians and industry players who have weighed in wanting the opening up of NSW and Victoria to coal seam and unconventional gas mining. 
Recently Ian Macfarlane, the head of the Queensland Resources Council, and a former federal Coalition Minister, criticised the NSW and Victorian Governments for lacking the will to develop their gas resources in the same way that Queensland has.[2] 
What Macfarlane either does not understand or conveniently ignores is that it is what happened in Queensland as well as overseas in the USA and elsewhere that alarmed communities in NSW and Victoria and generated the campaigns against CSG and unconventional gas mining – campaigns that have gathered strength also in the Northern Territory and the north-west of Western Australia. 
In his interview with Leigh Sales on ABC TV’s 7.30 on April 27 Macfarlane paints a very rosy picture of the industry in Queensland [3]. He claims “irresponsible green activism” stopped the industry in NSW.   Blaming the anti-gas campaign on the “greenie” bogey is convenient for many conservatives but is far from a true reflection of the breadth of community opposition to an invasive and polluting industry.
It will be interesting to see whether the urging of the Federal Government and proponents like Macfarlane encourage the NSW and Victorian Governments to change their positions on gas mining. If this happens, the reaction from those who see the industry as an unacceptable threat to agriculture and the environment is easy to predict.
Northern Rivers         
5 May 2017

GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.

Memo to all federal and state members of parliament: The Great Artesian Basin is not a vast underground sea of fresh water so stop treating it as if it is

Figure 1. The Great Artesian Basin; spring cluster data sourced from Fensham (2006Fensham, R. 2006. Spring wetlands of the Great Artesian Basin. Paper for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra. December 16, 2014). ).

It is long past time that all parliamentarians of every political persuasion ceased robbing the nation of its present and future water security with their petty partisan politics and insane reliance on ideology over scientific fact.

In simple language Kim de RijkePaul Munro & Maria de Lourdes Melo Zurita point out that the Great Artesian Basin is not an endless supply of fresh water and to treat it as such is dangerous.

Taylor & Francis Online, 11 February 2016:

Excerpt from Society & Natural ResourcesAn International Journal  Volume 29, 2016 - Issue 6: Thinking Relationships Through Water

With regard to the process of extracting gas and subterranean water, a commonality in the submissions of CSG companies and state governments is the simplification of the GAB. It is constructed as a large, well-understood, and unproblematic body of underground water:

[The GAB is] equivalent to approximately 22% of Australia’s land mass. Compared to the total storage capacity of the GAB, the amount of water projected to be extracted during CSG production is very small … the annual water extraction is likely to be less than 0.0002% of total storage. This is the equivalent of taking approximately 5 litres out of an Olympic sized swimming pool. (Australia Pacific LNG 2011, The Senate Inquiry, Submission 368).

Water, in such submissions, is a simplified and abstracted object of nature to be represented solely in terms of volumes and percentages. It is exemplar of Jamie Linton’s (2014 Linton, J. 2014. Modern water and its discontents: A history of hydrosocial renewal. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water1 (1):111–20. doi:10.1002/wat2.1009 [CrossRef], [Google Scholar]) notion of “modern water’” a particular way of knowing and relating to water abstracted from its local, social, cultural, religious, and ecological contexts. The anxiety-riddled relationships between the arid region overlying the GAB and water resources are posited as insignificant to extractive practices. Such instrumental and rationalist simplification is part of discursive strategies to produce a view of subterranean water amenable to the (economic) growth of the modern state (Linton 2010 Linton, J. 2010. What is water? The history of a modern abstraction. Vancouver, BC, Canada: UBC Press. [Google Scholar]; 2014 Linton, J. 2014. Modern water and its discontents: A history of hydrosocial renewal. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water1 (1):111–20. doi:10.1002/wat2.1009 [CrossRef], [Google Scholar]; Finewood and Stroup 2012 Finewood, M. H., and L. J. Stroup. 2012. Fracking and the neoliberalization of the hydro-social cycle in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education 147 (1):72–79. doi:10.1111/j.1936-704x.2012.03104.x[CrossRef], [Google Scholar]). The final Senate Inquiry report, however, chided some CSG company submissions, noting that

[The GAB] is not a vast underground ‘sea’ in which levels and pressures quickly and uniformly adjust to the extraction of water from one part. Rather it is a highly complex system of geological formations at a range of depths, of variable permeability holding water of different quality, at different pressures and through which water flows at very different rates, if it flows at all. The reduction in pressure in a coal seam will result in a local fall in the water level and pressure in that particular area which may alter the rate and direction of the movement of groundwater in adjacent formations. The impact of this change may take many years to have a measurable impact on adjacent aquifers. Similarly the contingent loss of water from adjacent aquifers may not be made good by natural recharge for decades or even centuries. (RATRC 2011, 19)

Discursive attempts by CSG proponents to portray a simplified body of subterranean water thus sit uneasily alongside broader scientific narratives of the GAB. A critical scientific challenge, as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, cited in RATRC 2011 Management of the Murray Darling Basin interim report: The impact of mining coal seam gas on the management of the Murray Darling Basin. Commonwealth of Australia 2011 Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee. (accessed February 8, 2016). , 19) notes, is “to visualize its exact structure.” While the GAB is no longer described as a source of “mystery water” (Powell 2011 Powell, O. C. 2011, Great Artesian Basin: Water from deeper down. In Queensland historical atlas: Histories, cultures, landscapes.(accessed February 8, 2016).), disparities point to continuing knowledge contests fuelled by the limitations of geological modeling technologies that aim to make “darkness visible” (Shortland 1994 Shortland, M. 1994. Darkness visible: Underground culture in the golden age of geology. History of Science 31 (1):1–61. doi:10.1177/007327539403200101 [CrossRef], [Google Scholar]).

Read the full article here.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Problems with tax collection from Australian resource and energy sector due to aggressive avoidance strategies

It would appear that successive federal and state governments have allowed the resource and energy sector to take Australia for everything except the gold fillings in its teeth……..

2 Office of the Chief Economist, Resources and Energy Quarterly, December 2016; Office of the Chief Economist, Resources and Energy Quarterly, December 2015; Office of the Chief Economist, Resources and Energy Quarterly, December 2014.
[Australian Taxation Office (ATO) 30 March 2017 submission to Senate Standing Committees on Economics, Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance]

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 2017:

Multinational gas companies will soon sell an annual $50 billion worth of Australian liquefied natural gas to foreign markets, but the nation will have to wait more than a decade for any revenue boost and some projects will never pay a cent in tax for the resources they extract.

A report prepared for the Turnbull government into the petroleum resource rent tax has confirmed fears, first revealed by Fairfax Media in 2015, that revenue from offshore gas will continue to flatline until at least 2027.

Despite that, Treasurer Scott Morrison insisted on Friday that Australians were not being shortchanged, but said the government would consider some changes to the system.

The review of the PRRT by former treasury official Mike Callaghan has acknowledged there are systemic problems and recommended changes to toughen the system for new LNG projects.

But, in a clear victory for the $200 billion industry, he shied away from urging any major changes for projects already past the investment stage, including Chevron's giant Gorgon and Wheatstone ventures and Shell's Prelude project.

The Callaghan report was released amid the political wrangling over east coast gas supply and on the same day the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance grilled LNG bosses in Perth.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 2017:

Foreign-owned gas companies have legally avoided paying significant tax on billions in earnings from their Australian operations because of loopholes, according to a study. 

The loopholes have allowed the companies to write off interest payments for the borrowings of offshore subsidiaries, it has been claimed.

The study, by academic accountants at the University of Technology School of Accounting, and left-leaning campaign group GetUp, looked at the available balance sheet data of gas giants ExxonMobil and Chevron. It found the two companies have achieved colossal revenue flows from their Australian operations but paid little if anything in petroleum resource rent tax in recent years.

The practice is known as "debt loading" or "thin capitalisation".

Over the two years 2013-14 and 2014-15, Chevron earned more than $6.12 billion in revenue, but paid nothing in PRRT, according to the assessment.

It found ExxonMobil achieved revenue of almost three times that at $18.08 billion in the same period, but paid only $803.5 million.

The study concluded that between the operation of the company tax rules and the petroleum resource rent tax regime these enormous multinational resources companies can "load up" their balance sheets with excessive debt, thereby reducing taxable income to the point where the tax liability is low or non-existent.

The report, Investigation into the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax and Debt Loading in Australia – 2012 to 2016, found 95 per cent of oil and gas projects in Australia paid nothing in PRRT in 2014-15.

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) Ltd, Submission to the Review of Commonwealth Petroleum Resource Taxes, February 2017: 

APPEA does not consider a case exists for any changes to be made to the existing PRRT provisions.

Oil and gas corporation Santos Limited currently seeking to establish coal seam gas fields in NSW stated in a 3 February 2017 written submission to the current Senate inquiry into tax avoidance:

Santos has participated in a number of offshore and onshore oil and gas projects during the period of operation of PRRT, from 1 July 1986 (see attachment). Based on our experience with petroleum projects in which Santos has an interest it is our view that PRRT has operated as intended and that therefore the existing design features are appropriate…..
The declining revenues are a function of changes to the industry and currant commodity prices rather than changes or faults in the original design of PRRT.

Santos Limited with a total income of $3.38 billion in 2014-15 declared it had no taxable income in that financial year. The previous financial year its tax liability was $3.14 million on a declared taxable income of $27.34 million out of a total income before tax of $4.35 billion.


The Australian, 25 August 2012:

SOME of Australia's biggest oil and gas players expect to pay little or no additional tax on their multi-billion-dollar onshore energy projects, putting federal government hopes of billions of dollars of additional revenue in doubt.

The admissions by Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Origin Energy indicate the government is unlikely to receive any significant additional funds in the foreseeable future from the expanded petroleum resources rent tax.

Parliament of Australia, Corporate Tax Avoidance:

On 2 October 2014 the Senate referred an inquiry into corporate tax avoidance to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in June 2015.

On 15 June 2015, the Senate granted an extension to the committee to report by 13 August 2015. On 12 August 2015, the Senate granted an extension to the committee to report by 30 November 2015. On 23 November 2015, the Committee was granted an extension to report by 26 February 2016. On 22 February 2016, the committee was granted an extension to report on 22 April 2016.

On 2 May 2016, the Senate granted the committee a further extension to report by 30 September 2016.  

The inquiry lapsed at the end of the 44th Parliament.

On 11 October 2016, the Senate agreed to the committee's recommendation that this inquiry be re-adopted in the 45th Parliament. The committee is to report by 30 September 2017……

On 1 December 2016, the committee resolved to broaden the scope of the inquiry to include Australia's offshore oil and gas industry.
The committee has asked to receive submissions on the treatment and/or payment of:
i. royalties;
ii. the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT);
iii. deductions; and
iv. other taxes
by corporations involved in Australia's offshore oil and gas industry, including matters relating to the collection of these moneys by government.

University Of Technology Sydney, Ross McClure et al, Analysis of Tax Avoidance Strategies of Top Foreign Multinationals Operating in Australia: An Expose, 19 April 2016:

Multinational corporations are in a unique position to engage in tax aggressive strategies, as they are generally large in size and highly profitable, they exhibit low levels of debt in their capital structure, and have operations across national borders that generate foreign income streams. The overall group is made up of multiple entities across a number of tax jurisdictions and most multinational corporations have at least one subsidiary in a tax haven.

These characteristics have been associated with tax shelter activity in the U.S. (Wilson 2009) and with aggressive tax planning strategies such as abusive transfer pricing in Australia (Richardson et al. 2012). The information technology, pharmaceutical and energy sectors are both dominated by large multinational corporations and provide strong mechanisms that allow these corporations to divert profits away from where value and profits are created in order to reduce their tax liabilities., 17 March 2017:

Gas on the east coast of Australia is controlled by a handful of companies and the lack of competition means they can charge higher prices locally.

At the moment, supply is controlled by six companies: Santos, Exxon, BHP, Origin, Arrow Energy and Shell. Some of these companies also control pipelines used to transport gas around the country, also adding to inflated prices……

He [energy analyst Bruce Robertson] said the global glut of gas, which is predicted to continue until 2030, has also put more pressure on companies to make money domestically.

The more they restrict supply locally, the more money they make.

It’s created the bizarre situation that sees Australian gas being sold in Japan for a wholesale price that is cheaper than the price it’s available for in Australia.

Santos, Shell and Origin Energy have to stick to long-term contracts they signed with Japan amid a global glut, but the lack of competition in Australia means they can restrict supply locally and drive up prices.

Australians are now paying a price higher than the international price for gas.

There’s even talk about Australia importing its own gas back because this would be cheaper.

Australia is also not profiting as much as we could from selling our gas overseas.

Japan reportedly puts a tax on the gas it imports from Australia, which will deliver it $2.9 billion over the next four years.

In comparison, Australia will not receive any money from its petroleum resource rent tax from gas projects over the same period. We get $0 in tax from selling our gas overseas.

Most of the $800 million we do get from the tax every year comes from established oil operations in the Bass Strait, rather than from LNG producers.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Left unchecked the gas & coal mining sectors will be the death of the Great Artesian Basin and what is left of the Great Barrier Reef

According to an August 2016 Report Commissioned By The Australian Government And Great Artesian Basin Jurisdictions Based On Advice From The Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is one of the largest underground freshwater reservoirs in the world. It underlies approximately 22% of Australia – occupying an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres beneath arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Approximately 70% of the GAB lies within Queensland…..

The first people to make use of GAB water were Indigenous tribes for whom it was critical to survival. Indeed, there is evidence that the GAB sustained Aboriginal people for thousands of years prior to European settlement.

The natural springs of the GAB provided a critical source of fresh water, and supported valuable food sources including birds, mammals, reptiles, crustaceans and insects, creating an abundant hunting ground for local tribes. The plants and trees around the artesian springs were used for food, medicine, materials and shelter.

The springs provided semi-permanent oases in the desert and supported trade and travel routes which evolved around them. The springs also played a key part in the spiritual and cultural beliefs of Aboriginal people. Ceremonies and other events were held at spring wetland areas which remain precious cultural and sacred sites. Numerous Creation stories feature a connection to groundwater.

This underground freshwater reservoir holds 65,000 million megalitres much of which fell as rain 1 to 2 million years ago, but not all of this water is in accessible layers.

For assessment purposes the GAB is divided into four regions – Carpentaria, Central Eromanga, Western Eromanga and the Surat Basin.

In 1878 the first bore was sunk to draw water from the Great Artesian Basin.

In modern Australia its economic values are shared by towns, agriculture, cattle & sheep grazing and industry/mining across the four basin regions.

The Courier map based on a 22 August 2016 report
The report points out that Water has historically been extracted from the GAB at a greater rate than recharge and this creates a problem for 21st Century Australia.

Professor of Environmental Sciences Derek Eamus, University of Technology, 18 June 2015:

As the pressure in the GAB has declined and the water table drops, mound springs (where groundwater is pushed to the ground surface under pressure) have begun to dry up in South Australia and Queensland. Associated paperbark swamps and wetlands are also being lost and it gets more and more expensive to extract the groundwater for irrigation and other commercial applications.

On average, rates of groundwater extraction across Australia has increased by about 100 per cent between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, reflecting both the increased population size and commercial usage of groundwater stores.

Despite the strain on water resources, the gas and coal mining industries are allowed virtually unlimited water extraction from within the Great Artesian Basin and where the few limits are placed on extraction it is poorly policed by government agencies.

This is a graph of coal seam gas, conventional gas and petroleum industry water use 1995-2015:

Source:.DNRM 2016, p. 62.

The Adani Group’s most recent water licence for the Carmichael coal project issued in April 2017 allows it to take a virtually unlimited volume of groundwater each year for the next 60 years, plus surface water – with minimum oversight.

The Environmental Defender’s Office (Qld) states that: It is expected that Adani may require up to 9.5 billion litres of groundwater every year for the Carmichael project.

Poor management by Adani of its Abbot’s Point coal waste has already led to a smothering of the vibrant, nationally important Caley Wetlands with run-off via its estuarine system expected to reach adjacent waters of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Satellite image of Caley Wetlands after emergency water release by Adani - now covered in coal waste.
A picture of the Abbot Point coal loading facility showing coal water run-off moving north-west into the wetlands and coal dust on the beaches. The Age, 12 April 2017, Photo: Dean Sewell
Coal dust on the beaches next to the Abbot Point coal loading facility  Photo: Dean Sewell/Oculi

On 10 March 2015 ABC News reported:

Hundreds of square kilometres of prime agricultural land in southeast Queensland are at risk from a cocktail of toxic chemicals and explosive gases, according to a secret State Government report.

A study commissioned by Queensland's environment department says an experimental plant operated by mining company Linc Energy at Chinchilla, west of Brisbane, is to blame and has already caused "irreversible" damage to strategic cropping land.

The department, which has launched a $6.5 million criminal prosecution of the company, alleges Linc is responsible for "gross interference" to the health and wellbeing of former workers at the plant as well as "serious environmental harm".

The 335-page experts' report, obtained by the ABC, has been disclosed to Linc but not to landholders.

It says gases released by Linc's activities at its underground coal gasification plant at Hopeland have caused the permanent acidification of the soil near the site.

Experts also found concentrations of hydrogen in the soil at explosive levels and abnormal amounts of methane, which they say is being artificially generated underground, over a wide area.

The region is a fertile part of the Western Darling Downs and is used to grow wheat, barley and cotton and for cattle grazing, with some organic producers.

Other documents, released to the ABC by the magistrate in charge of the criminal case, show four departmental investigators were hospitalised with suspected gas poisoning during soil testing at the site in March.

"My nausea lasted for several hours. I was also informed by the treating doctor that my blood tests showed elevated carbon monoxide levels (above what was normal)," one of the investigators said.

High levels of cancer-causing benzene were detected at the site afterwards.

On 9 February 2017 ABC News was still reporting on the contamination:

Flammable levels of hydrogen have been found at a number of locations near the site of a controversial gas project that has been blamed for contaminating huge swathes of prime Queensland farm land.

The ABC understands an ongoing Environment Department investigation has confirmed that the contamination is much more widespread than previously thought.

The Queensland Government has dispatched Environment Department officers to the Hopeland community, near Chinchilla in the state's south, and is setting up a call centre to help explain the situation to landholders…..

Due to fears about possible hydrogen explosions, the Government has been enforcing a 314-square kilometre "excavation caution zone" around the Linc plant, with landholders banned from digging any hole deeper than two metres.

The ABC understands further investigation by the Environment Department has now found flammable levels of hydrogen at locations outside the current caution zone.

The hydrogen has been detected underground and the department says it dissipates quickly in the open air.

Government sources have stressed the gas is not of an explosive concentration but landholders will be encouraged to exercise caution.

Left unchecked the mining industry will bring the Great Artesian Basin closer to collapse.

It is not as if either federal or state governments ever fully realise the supposed financial gains allowing this environmental degradation was supposed to bring to their treasuries.

In 2007-08 the Australian Taxation Office released taxation data which showed that 68.8 per cent of all mining companies on its books paid no tax in that financial year. In 2009-10 the percentage of mining companies paying no tax had risen to 73.1 per cent and in in 2010-11 the percentage of mining companies paying no tax was 72.2 per cent. By 2013-14 a total of 60 per cent of publicly listed energy and resources companies did not pay tax and again in 2014-15 60 per cent of all energy and resources companies paid no tax.

Add to this the fact that Adani in Australia in estimated to have paid only 0.008 percent in tax on their total income in 2014-2015 and is structured in such a way that its tax burden is artificially lowered and a significant proportion of its profits move offshore to the Cayman Islands tax haven.

It isn’t hard to see a pattern developing here.

Maximum environmental, cultural, social and economic risk for Australia with minimal financial return on risk.