Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts

Monday, 17 September 2018

Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun?


On 15 September 2018 The Daily Examiner reported that:

Concerns  about the health of the Mann and Clarence rivers have been raised by community members following explorations by Castillo Copper at Cangai, near the historic copper mine….

It’s the high grade of the finding that has some community members concerned, with the prospect of a mine opening in the area becoming more likely.

At a meeting attended by about 20 people, NSW Parliament Greens candidate for the Clarence Greg Clancy and John Edwards from the Clarence Valley Environment Centre explained their concerns with mining so close to the river.

After having trouble getting in contact with Castillo through its website, Mr Edwards took his inquiries about the exploration to the mining regulator.

“I got an email from their managing director … and he said they were just out there doing some investigation and it wasn’t very much to worry about,” he said.

But this has not eased his concerns about the future of the Clarence Valley’s rivers.

“It would be good to get out there and see what they are actually doing,” he said.

“They’ve been talking up their exploration finds to date … maybe that is to just get investors’ money, but it’s certainly in a bad position where the river is and where all this siltation and run-off and toxic crap that runs off when they mine copper, silver...

“It’s not going to be easy for them when they are at the top of a hill overlooking a river.”

Mr Clancy said the group would need to get more information so they could understand exactly how the ore would be mined.

“There is loss of vegetation and threatened species on the hill. This is going to be an open cut mine … and the water table may not be up there, but once they’ve got an open cut mine it will gather water and they have to use water in the process to get the minerals out.

“They will be creating their own artificial ponds and we would have to explore this further, but I know with (extracting) gold they use arsenic.

“There are a whole range of chemicals they could be using. Whatever projections they are supposed to use, they often don’t work.”

The group is planning to do more research and attempt to make contact with the company before they hold another meeting in one month’s time at the Grafton library.
[my yellow bolding]

Castillo Copper Limited (ASX:CCZ) is a West Australian base metal explorer listed on the stock exchange which has four subsidiaries:

Castillo Copper Chile Spa, Total Minerals Pty Ltd, Queensland Commodities Pty Ltd  and Total Iron Pty Ltd.

Castillo Copper Limited holds three mining exploration leases as part of its Jackadgery Project:

EL 8625 (1992) 17-Jul-2017 17-Jul-2020 35 UNITS About 43 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL MINERALS PTY LTD est. at 155 km2
EL 8635 (1992) 21-Aug-2017 21-Aug-2020 52 UNITS About 41 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL IRON PTY LTD
EL 8601 (1992)  21-Jun-2017 21-Jun 2020 51 UNITS About 38 km SE of DRAKE QUEENSLAND COMMODITIES PTY LTD.

Castillo Copper is not characterising its activities on these leases as "just doing some investigation".

In fact it is indicating to its shareholders and the stock exchange that the company has clear intentions to mine at the old Cangai Mine site before the end of the exploration on these leases:

* “Road to fast-track production taking shape”

* “Preliminary metallurgical test-work on samples from the two McDonough’s stockpiles, along the line of lode, has demonstrated the ore can be beneficiated materially….. Discussions continue with prospective off-take partners interested in processing ore as relevant information comes to hand …. Meanwhile, the geology team have approached the regulator for guidance on the optimal way forward to remove the stockpiles from site and capture the economic benefits”

“…they are an asset and could potentially generate early cashflow”

* “The clear options are third party processing locally or a direct shipping ore product once regulatory clearance is secured”.

 Castillo Copper Limited images

So who are the people behind Castillo Copper Limited?

Well, the board is composed of:

Peter Francis Meagher, company director since 2 February 2018, from East Freemantle, West Australia - position Chairman;

Peter Smith, on the board as but not officially listed as a director of Castillo Copper Limited - position Non-Executive Director; and

Alan David Stephen Armstrong, company director since 1 August 2017, from Canning Vale West Australia - position Executive Director.

Listed company director who is not included at https://www.castillocopper.com/board/ is:

Neil Armstrong Hutchinson. company director since 1 August 2017, from Double View, Western Australia - position previously reported to be Technical Executive Director at Castillo Copper Limited since August 1, 2017. by Bloomberg.

NOTE; All three listed company directors appear to be shareholders in this miming company.

Castillo Copper Limited's Top 20 shareholders as of 20 September 2017 were:
Castillo Copper Limited Annual Report 2016-17


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Blatant water theft by miners being allowed under Berejiklian Government rules?


IMAGE: Ros Druce. Maules Creek Mine, January 2016 in New Matilda

ABC News, 10 September 2018:

A New South Wales coal mine is being accused of inappropriately taking more surface water than it is entitled to.

A review of Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek Mine near Narrabri by the campaign group Lock the Gate showed it captured 1,800 million litres (ML) of surface water in 2016, despite being licenced to take 30 million litres.

Surface water is water that is collected from rainfall and run off.

An examination of surface water licences in New South Wales has been unable to find any other surface water licences held by the mine to justify the additional water.

"It does appear that the take is much higher than the licence they have explained to the community," Maules Creek farmer Lochie Leitch said.

Whitehaven Coal declined to be interviewed.

The company issued a statement saying it was in compliance with its water licences, and the use of rainfall and runoff is permissible under legislation.

Farmers whose properties neighbour the mine have joined forces with the campaign group, Lock the Gate Alliance, to lodge a complaint with the state's new water watchdog, the Natural Resources Access Regulator.

The NRAR was set up in April 2018 following a review of water management and compliance which was prompted by a story by the ABC's Four Corners.

The farmers are worried that the alleged collection of this extra surface water is affecting the environment.

"[It's] simply capturing too much water that would otherwise be recharging groundwater and flowing into surface water systems," Maules Creek farmer Sally Hunter said.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Yet another opportunistic mining exploration company has the Clarence Valley in its sights: Public Meeting 2.30pm on 13 September 2018 at Grafton Regional Library


Having received approval from the NSW mining regulator in June 2018 Castillo Copper Limited (CCZ) has proceeded with its exploratory drilling program with a view to establishing an open cut mine at Cangai in the Clarence Valley.

Castillo Copper Limited image
This small West Australian base metal exploration company may be operating on a shoestring budget and currently trade at only $0.039 per ordinary share, however an open cut mine so close to the Mann River means that the greed of Messrs. Peter Meagher, Peter Smith And Alan Armstrong has the potential to severely damage the Clarence River system.

There is to be a community meeting and Clarence Valley residents are urged to attend:

2 hrs · 
Goodbye Mann and Clarence Rivers if this gets approval. The plan is to open cut mine and that involves removing a large hill and metal extraction usually involves highly polluting chemicals. This is no win for the Valley. It is a disaster. A meeting is being held at the Clarence Regional Library in Grafton at 2.30 PM on Thursday September 13 to discuss this threat to the Rivers. All welcome.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Gloucester community's landmark climate change case began in NSW Land & Environment Court, August 2018




CASE SUMMARY

Gloucester Resources Ltd and Stratford Pty Ltd
v Groundswell Gloucester and Dept of Planning & Environment 


The Client: Groundswell Gloucester, a residents’ community group concerned with the environmental, social and economic future of the Stroud Gloucester Valley near Barrington Tops in the upper Hunter.

The Case: Represented by EDO NSW, Groundswell Gloucester was joined to proceedings that will determine the fate of the Rocky Hill Coal project, a greenfield open-cut coal mine less than 5km from Gloucester township.

Representation: Matt Floro, solicitor for EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for Groundswell Gloucester and our Principal Solicitor, Elaine Johnson, is the solicitor on record. We are grateful to barrister Robert White for his assistance in this matter.

Experts: Emeritus Professor Will Steffen will for the first time give evidence in an Australian court that no new fossil fuel developments can be approved if we are to avoid overspending our carbon budget. Professor Steffen is a Climate Councillor on the Climate Council of Australia, Member of the ACT Government’s Climate Change Council, and was previously a Climate Commissioner on the Australian Government’s Climate Commission.

Energy analyst Tim Buckley will explain the financial mechanisms and market changes that are driving investments away from coal and creating a risk that Rocky Hill will become a stranded asset. Tim Buckley is Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

60 community objectors include farmers, doctors, Traditional Owners and young people. This is also the first time in an Australian court that young people will talk about the impact of climate change and the impact of the mine on their communities, and future generations.

Timeline:

2016 - Community celebrations after AGL withdraws its application to drill 330 coal seam gas extraction wells in the area.

December 2017 - celebrations continue when the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) refuses consent to the Rocky Hill Coal Project proposed by Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL). The PAC found that the mine was not in the public interest because of its proximity to the town of Gloucester, significant visual impact and direct contravention of the area’s zoning plans.

The PAC also refuses consent to a Modification of the consent for the nearby Stratford mine - operated by a related company of Yancoal Australia Limited - that proposed the receipt, processing and railing of coal from the Project.  The PAC found that the Modification would have no critical purpose or utility outside the Project.

Planning Minister grants both mining companies the right to appeal the refusal of consent to the Land and Environment Court.

February 2018 - Our client, Groundswell Gloucester, seeks to be joined to the proceedings.

April 2018 - following a full-day hearing, the Land and Environment Court orders that Groundswell Gloucester be joined to the proceedings brought by GRL.
In relation to the climate change ground, on joining Groundswell Gloucester, the Court noted that:
“GRL submits that the raising of the climate issue as proposed in a domestic Court if the Intervener were joined would not serve the purpose of improving this particular planning decision; and, instead, would be a “side show and a distraction”. I do not agree.”

Our client has been permitted by the Court to present expert evidence on climate change and the social impacts of this new mine. The Court will hear anthropological evidence about the social impact of mining on the community.

This is the first time an Australian court will hear expert evidence about the urgent need to stay within the global carbon budget in the context of a proposed new coal mine.

Key dates
13-14 August 2018
Opening submissions at the Land and Environment Court, Macquarie Street, Sydney
15 August 2018
Site visit (parties only) Gloucester
16-17 August 2018
Hearings in Gloucester (community objectors)
20-24 & 27-31 August 2018
Submissions and expert witnesses at the Land and Environment Court, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Background

This is the first hearing of its kind since the historic Paris Agreement in which a superior jurisdiction Australian court will hear expert testimony about climate change, the carbon budget and the impacts of the burning of fossil fuels.

For years EDO NSW has supported the Gloucester community, providing legal and scientific advice. This contributed to a recommendation from the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) in 2016 to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to refuse GRL’s greenfield mine application, known as the Rocky Hill Coal Project (the Project) and the associated Stratford modification.

In December 2017, the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) refused consent to the Project and the modification, finding they were not in the public interest because of proximity to the town of Gloucester, significant visual impact and the area’s zoning under planning laws.

In deciding how the Project and modification would be assessed, the NSW Minister for Planning granted unusual merit appeal rights to GRL and Yancoal who are now joined together in aggressively challenging the refusal in the Land and Environment Court.

Both coal companies have recruited their own legal and scientific teams. However Groundswell Gloucester was not told about the merit appeal until February, two months after GRL filed the case.

EDO NSW case page: www.edonsw.org.au/groundswell 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Concerned citizens can donate to the Environmental Defence Fund here.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Anthropomorphic Global Warming in Australia 2018


Australians have been told repeatedly that global warming leading to climate change is real.

The continent is becomng dryer, record air and ground temperatures are no longer novel, heavy rain events are predicted to become more destructive, mass flora and fauna extinctions are expected and the coastline is beginning to erode faster than at the historical rate.

It's not just happenng in Australia, other continents are also experience climate change and, the one factor most have in common is generations of ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions produced by both households and industries in metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

Everyone bears some responsibility for where the world finds itself......


In the first quarter of 2018 Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions will be over MT 7.3 CO2-e  higher than the national Paris ERT commitment made on our behalf by the Australian Government.

Over one quarter of Australia’s CO2-e budget for 2013 to 2050 has already been spent in the last 4.75 years.

AUSTRALIA’S ANNUAL EMISSIONS, CALENDAR YEAR TO SEPTEMBER 2017*


* This graph includes both published Government NGGI data and Ndevr Environmental projections for Q4/FY2017 and Q1/FY2018

BY  SECTOR 2005-2017
~~~~~~~~~~~

World-wide, land used for non-animal and animal-based agriculture in 2017 was estimated to produce 24% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.


66.3% from enteric fermentation in ruminant livestock (eructation and flatulence)

15.5% from agricultural soils

10.8% from prescribed burning of savannas

3.9% from manure management

2.4% from liming and urea application

and the remainder from rice cultivation and field burning of agricultural residues.

Total greenhouse gas emissions from world-wide food systems in 2012 contributed between 19% to 29% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030 the combined greenhouse gas emissions from global food production is expected to double.

~~~~~~~~~~~

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting, Australia’s highest 10 greenhouse gas emitters 2016–17

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners: "We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani" and we ask your help


From: Adrian Burragubba - via CommunityRun <info@getup.org.au>
Date: Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:46 PM
Subject: We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani
To: [redacted]


This is a message from the leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. They are the Traditional Owners of the land where mining giant Adani want to build the Carmichael coal mine. Your details haven't been shared with anyone.

Dear [redacted],

We are leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. We're the people on the frontline defending our ancestral lands in the fight against Adani's destructive coal mine.

Our people have said no four times to a miserly land deal offered by Adani in exchange for the destruction of our homelands. We have been opposing Adani and holding them off since 2012.

Our resistance has nothing to do with dollars. No amount of money or promises from a deceitful corporation can stop us standing strong in defence of Wangan and Jagalingou lands and waters and sacred sites.

But Adani are ruthless. They have used the dirtiest tactics to undermine our right to say no, and manufacture a phony "Indigenous Land Use Agreement".

Right now we're fighting against Adani's shoddy tactics and their sham "agreement" in court. The judge could hand down a decision any day now. But it won't end there.

Can you sign our petition to stand with us against Adani?

We are willing to fight Adani all the way to the High Court to protect our environment and sacred sites. We are working for a positive future for our people on our country. We won't stand by and watch its destruction for coal.

Adani are relentlessly pressuring the Queensland government to clear our Native Title rights out of the way — and as the clock ticks and Adani gets more desperate, it will only intensify.

So we need to show Adani and our Governments that they can't fake or force our consent.

We have never given our consent to Adani to destroy our country, and we never will. Our land is our living law; we are connected to it through our ancestors and our culture. Without it we will cease to exist as a people.

Our people have been leading a courageous fight against a cashed-up mining giant with politicians in its pockets, and top end of town lawyers to argue away its collusion, bad faith and dishonesty.

We're calling time on this. It's time for Adani to walk away.

Sign our petition to tell Adani No means No.

Adani can't keep bullying us, or pretending they have our consent. Consent is written in our hearts and minds, and the truth is we have said no. Time and again.

And we shouldn't have to keep saying it. Adani haven't been able to put money on the table for this project or even say when they'll start digging. They've given nothing to our people, or to the people of Queensland and Australia, except a bunch of false promises. The smart money and honest commentators know Adani's Carmichael mine is going nowhere.

But still our rights are at extreme risk. The Queensland Government could yield to this corrupt polluting corporation and "legally" rip up our Native Title, just so they can say they have their final "approval".

We continue to hold the line and have many tens of thousands of supporters in Australia and around the world, but we need more. We need to build a more powerful movement, standing in solidarity with us, to take on Adani's wealth, political influence and dirty tricks.

Sign our petition to support our fight against Adani.

We are in the fight of our lives. Adani have shown a relentless determination to use unjust legal maneouvres to trample our rights. But this fight is bigger than Adani. It's about the rights that all Aboriginal people have to say no to dirty extractive industries that profit from our traditional homelands. It's about our right under international law to be free from discrimination, and to choose our own economic future.

We have a vision for our people that's sustainable. We want economic independence, and to make a future on our country that is respectful of the land and uplifting for our people. We want to invest in solar energy and other new clean enterprises. We don't want scraps from a corrupt corporation looking to profit from the permanent destruction of our culture, or meagre handouts and low paid dirty jobs that require us to give up our human rights.

When we say No to Adani, we mean No. We hope you'll stand with us.

Support our fight: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/

Adrian Burragubba, cultural leader and senior spokesperson
with Murrawah Johnson, Youth spokesperson
and Linda Bobongie, W&J Council Chairperson

for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council


Adrian Burragubba

CommunityRun is a new online organisation that lets anyone start, run and win their own campaigns. It receives no political party or government funding and is not affiliated with any political party. To unsubscribe from CommunityRun updates, please visit here or visit http://www.getup.org.au/unsubscribe?cr=true. To unsubscribe from individual CommunityRun campaigns, please visit www.communityrun.org.
Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.
Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lock The Gate back in court asking questions about "secretive deals" between NSW Coalition Government and Shenhua mining group


NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO):


Our client Lock the Gate is seeking access to information held by the NSW Government about secretive deals relating to the “buy-back” of the coal exploration licence for Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Limited’s (Shenhua) controversial Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine in the Liverpool Plains in north central NSW, one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.

Lock the Gate argues that the public has a right to know about deals made behind closed doors in relation to the exploration and development of the proposed Watermark coal mine. Lock the Gate argues that accountability and transparency in this case are essential given the significant predicted impacts of the Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains, the nation’s agricultural industry, local communities and the environment.

On behalf of Lock the Gate, we are asking the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to decide that the release of this information is in the public interest.


Farmland on the Liverpool Plains. Photo: Lock the Gate Alliance.

Background

In July and September 2017, respectively, Lock the Gate made applications to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet for information about Shenhua’s application to renew its exploration licence for the Watermark mine. That information encompasses secretive dealings between Shenhua and the NSW Government that resulted in the buy-back of around 51% of the exploration licence, which covered the highly fertile “black soils” of the Liverpool Plains, at the cost of $262 million to the public.

Whilst the NSW Government claims that the buy-back was necessary to protect the black soils from mining, and thereby the agricultural industry of the Liverpool Plains, Lock the Gate contends that the buy-back will do nothing to lessen the expected impacts of the mine. Furthermore, Lock the Gate argues that the buy-back was completely unnecessary. The NSW Government could have used its powers under the Mining Act to reduce the size of the exploration licence by 50% upon its renewal without the payment of any compensation to Shenhua.The NSW Government could also have cancelled the exploration licence outright given that Shenhua had allegedly failed to comply with a condition of the licence that required substantial development of the Watermark mine to have commenced by October 2016, eight years after the initial grant of the licence in 2008.

The information sought by Lock the Gate includes Shenhua’s submissions on the licence renewal application, its request for the abovementioned licence condition to be suspended, Ministerial briefings and draft deeds of agreement about coal exploration and mining titles. The NSW Government has withheld this information on the basis that, amongst other things, it contains Cabinet information, was provided in confidence, or that its release may be prejudicial to Shenhua’s business interests – and therefore that there is an overriding public interest against its disclosure.
On the contrary, Lock the Gate argues that the overwhelming public interest in the release of the information is clear.

Access to this information will increase the accountability and transparency of the NSW Government in relation to the exploration and development of coal in the Liverpool Plains. This is particularly important in these circumstances where the Government has done deals with a private, foreign-owned, coal mining company behind closed doors and these have resulted in the expenditure of vast amounts of public funds without clear justification.

Access to this information is also vital for the public to have confidence in the decision-making processes of the NSW Government in relation to dealings about coal mining and exploration projects. This is essential where these dealings involve projects that are likely to have significant economic, social and environmental impacts and in which a number of stakeholders have expressed competing views. 

The more transparency around those deliberative processes, the more likely it is that they will be of high quality and will serve the public interest.

The matter is listed for hearing on 9 May 2018.

Brendan Dobbie, solicitor for EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for Lock the Gate and our Principal Solicitor, Elaine Johnson, is the solicitor on record.

We are grateful to barrister Scott Nash for his assistance in this matter.


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Friday, 16 February 2018

Failed coal seam gas mining company Linc Energy's 9 week trial underway in Queensland, Australia


As the story unfolded.........

ABC News, 16 April 2016:

Oil and gas company Linc Energy has been placed into administration in a bid to avoid penalties for polluting the environment, a Queensland green group says.

It was announced late Friday that administrators PPB Advisory had been called in to work with Linc's management on options including a possible restructure.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said after receiving legal and financial advice and considering commercial prospects the board decided it was in the best interests of the company to make the move.

It comes one month after the company was committed to stand trial on five charges relating to breaches in Queensland's environmental laws at its underground coal gasification site.

The state's environment department accused the company of wilfully causing serious harm at its trial site near Chinchilla on the Darling Downs.

Drew Hutton from the Lock the Gate Alliance said the company could face up to $56 million in fines if found guilty, but the penalty might never be paid.

"It is going to be difficult to get any money out of this company now that it is in administration," he said.


Mr Hutton said going into administration was a common legal manoeuvre to dodge fines and costly clean-ups......

Queensland Government, Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection, 29 January 2018:

Environmental Protection Order directed to Linc

Prior to Linc entering liquidation, DES issued Linc with an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) which required it to retain critical infrastructure on-site, conduct a site audit and undertake basic environmental monitoring to characterise the current status of the site.

Linc’s liquidators launched a legal challenge associated with this EPO in the Supreme Court seeking orders that they were justified in not causing Linc to comply with the EPO (or any future EPO). DES opposed this application.

In April 2017, the Supreme Court directed that Linc’s liquidators are not justified in causing Linc not to comply with the EPO. The Court accepted DES’ argument that the relevant provisions of the EP Act prevail over the Commonwealth Corporations Act and that Linc’s liquidators are executive officers of the company. Subject to any appeal decision, this confirms DES’s ability to enforce compliance with environmental obligations owed by resource companies who have gone into administration or liquidation.

Linc’s liquidators have since appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal. This appeal was heard in September 2017 and the decision was reserved.

Environmental Protection Order directed to a related person of Linc

DES used the ‘chain of responsibility’ amendments to the EP Act to issue an EPO to a ‘related person’ of Linc. The EPO requires the recipient to take steps to decommission most of the site’s dams and provide a bank guarantee of $5.5 million to secure compliance with the order.

The recipient of the EPO has appealed to the Planning and Environment Court and that litigation is ongoing.

The recipient of the EPO also applied for an order that the appeal be allowed and the EPO be set aside on the basis that DES denied him procedural fairness. The Planning and Environment Court dismissed that application. The recipient of the EPO appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal. That appeal was heard in March 2017 and judgment in favour of DES was delivered in August 2017. Subject to any further appeal, this decision confirms that the recipient was not denied procedural fairness and that DES’ interpretation of the EP Act was correct.

The earlier appeal in relation to the EPO (regarding the substance of the document) is yet to be heard by the Planning and Environment Court.

Investigation and prosecution of Linc and former executives

Linc Energy Limited will stand trial in the Brisbane District Court, commencing 29 January 2018, on five counts of wilfully causing serious environmental harm, in contravention of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

All counts relate to operations at the Linc Energy underground coal gasification site near Chinchilla, from approximately 2007 to 2013, and allege that contaminants were allowed to escape as a result of the operation.

In addition, the Queensland Government has charged five former Linc Energy executives over the operation of the UCG site in Chinchilla. A committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court is expected to take place in mid-2018.

As these matters remain before the courts, DES is unable to comment further on the legal proceedings.

Media releases


ABC News, 30 January 2018:

A landmark case described by a District Court judge as "unusual" will hear how gas company Linc Energy allegedly contaminated strategic cropping land causing serious environmental damage to parts of Queensland's Western Downs.

Linc Energy is charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Chinchilla.

The charges relate to alleged contamination at Linc Energy's Hopeland underground coal gasification (UCG) plant.

The trial will enter its second day today in the District Court in Brisbane, with crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC expected to begin his opening address to the empanelled jury later this morning.

Former Linc Energy scientists, geologists, and engineers as well as several investigators from the Queensland Environment Department are among those expected to give evidence.

Echo NetDaily, 30 January 2018:

BRISBANE, AAP – A failed energy company accused of knowingly and illegally polluting a significant part of Queensland’s Darling Downs has faced trial in a landmark criminal case in Brisbane.

Linc Energy is charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 after allegedly allowing toxic gas to leak from its operations.

The Brisbane District Court trial has heard Linc’s four underground coal gasification (UCG) sites and water were polluted to the point it was unfit for stock to consume but the company kept operating.

Crown prosecutor Ralph Devlin QC told the jury the company allowed hazardous contaminants to spread even after scientists and workers warned about gases bubbling from the ground.

Linc operated four UCG sites in Chinchilla where it burnt coal underground at very high temperatures to create gas.

In his opening address on Tuesday, Mr Devlin said scientists warned senior managers about the risk environmental harm was being caused throughout the operation…..

 ‘Bond prioritised Linc’s commercial interests over the requirements of operating its mining activity in an environmentally safe manner,’ Mr Devlin said.

‘Linc did nothing to stop, mitigate or rehabilitate the state of affairs that Linc itself had caused.’

As part of the UCG process, Linc injected air into the ground, which created and enlarged fractures.

It tried to concrete surface cracks and use wells to control pressure but they didn’t sufficiently reduce risks or damage, the court heard.

‘Linc kept going, even knowing the measures weren’t working,’ Mr Devlin said.

Scientists who visited the site are due to give evidence during the nine-week trial, but no senior managers from the company, which is in liquidation, will take the stand.

The trial continues.

ABC News, 8 February 2018:

Workers at an underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's Western Darling Downs were told to drink milk and eat yoghurt to protect their stomachs from acid, a court has heard.

The gas company has pleaded not guilty to five counts of causing serious environmental harmfrom its underground coal gasification operations between 2007 and 2013 in Chinchilla.

The corporation is not defending itself as it is in liquidation so there is no-one in the dock or at the bar table representing the defence.

A witness statement by former gas operator Timothy Ford was read to the court, which he prepared in 2015 before his death.

The court was not told how Mr Ford died.

He said the gas burnt his eyes and nose and he would need to leave the plant after work to get fresh air because it made him feel sick.

"We were told to drink milk in the mornings and at the start of shift… we were also told to eat yoghurt," he said.

"The purpose of this was to line our guts so the acid wouldn't burn our guts.

"We were not allowed to drink the tank water and were given bottled water."

Mr Ford said he always felt lethargic, suffered infections and had shortness of breath.

"During my time at the Linc site, would be the sickest I have been," he said.

"It is my belief that workplace was causing my sickness.

"I strongly feel that the Linc site was not being run properly due to failures of the wells and gas releases.".....

Sunshine Coast Daily, 9 February 2018:

A CONCRETE pumper says he saw 'black tar' seeping up at a Linc Energy site and raised concerns with the company.

Robert Arnold has told a court he noticed some odd occurrences when he went to the Chinchilla site in late 2007……

On Thursday, Mr Arnold told jurors he noticed several phenomena at the site.
"We saw bubbles coming up ... and a black tar substance. We commented back to Linc about it."

"A few of us went over and had a look ... basically it just looked like a heavy black oil ... it was in the puddles as well, in the same area," Mr Arnold added.

"We couldn't place our equipment close to the well because of these overhead pipes ... it was dripping out of the joints."

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin earlier claimed a "bubbling" event happened on the ground after rainfall at the coal gasification site.

Mr Arnold told jurors that after discussing the oozing substance, concrete trucks turned up and he pumped the concrete into a well.

Mr Arnold said he felt the concrete used that time was "very light" but the on-site supervisor made that decision.

Prosecutors previously told the court concerns were raised at various times with Linc leadership about the quality of cement and geological data used at the site.

The Crown has also claimed Linc used its underground wells in a way that made them fail, and allowed contaminants to escape far way, to places Linc could not remove them.

BACKGROUND
Wikipedia, 5 February 2018:

Linc started its Chinchilla Demonstration Facility in July 1999. First gas was produced in that very same year. Initially Linc Energy used the underground coal gasification technology worked out by Ergo Exergy Technologies, Inc, of Canada. 

However, in 2006 the cooperation with Ergo Exergy was terminated and the cooperation agreement for technology usage, consultation and engineering services was signed with the Skochinsky Institute of Mining and the Scientific-Technical Mining Association of Russia.[2]

In 2005, Linc signed a memorandum with Syntroleum granting a licence to use the Syntroleum's proprietary gas-to-liquid technology and started to build a GTL pilot plant in November 2007 at the Chinchilla facility. The plant was commissioned in August 2008. The first synthetic crude was produced in October 2008.[3]