Thursday, May 31

BG's $15bn Gladstone project starts coal seam gas race



Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, left, BG Group managing director Catherine Tanna, and federal Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday Source: The Australian
BRITISH gas giant BG Group has taken the lead in the race to establish the world's first coal seam gas to LNG project.

This follows it signing-off yesterday on its $US15 billion ($15.24bn) Queensland project.

BG Group's Australian subsidiary, QGC, announced it was pushing ahead with the first phase of its Curtis LNG project, which includes the development of a two-train liquefaction plant on Curtis Island near Gladstone, together with the associated upstream and pipeline facilities.

QGC managing director Catherine Tanna, who announced the go-ahead in Brisbane yesterday with Treasurer Wayne Swan and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, said it was BG's single biggest investment.

"Over the next four years, we will build the world's first liquefied natural gas plant to use coal seam gas (CSG) as a feedstock," she said.

Read More

The Australian

Editor's Note:  A photo of and a story about three very ignorant people standing around a model tanker

Little Blue Run Owner FirstEnergy Target of Planned Lawsuit Over Massive Coal Ash Dump

An environmentalist group announced Wednesday it will be filing a lawsuit against utility company FirstEnergy over alleged environmental violations at the 1,700-acre Little Blue Run coal ash impoundment, marking a major escalation in the group's attempts to close the site down.

Members of the Little Blue Run Regional Action Group, a coalition of residents living near the impoundment, are bringing the lawsuit. They charge in their notice of intent that FirstEnergy violated state laws by exceeding pollution limits, and federal laws by failing to disclose toxic releases.

Read More

Huffington Post Green

Buru Energy takes another step towards development of onshore Canning Basin oil field

Buru Energy (ASX: BRU) has reached a key milestone towards full development of the Ungani oil field in the onshore Canning Basin.

Western Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore issued a Declaration of Location over the field, verifying Buru's interpreted extent of the field and proposed process for commercial development.

This involved a technical and geological examination of the oil field and covers the four graticular blocks around the field as requested by Buru.

Buru has now lodged an application for a production licence over the field, which contains  details of the proposed full scale development process for  review and assessment by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

It also formally commences the Native Title negotiation process with the Yawuru and Nyikina-Mangala peoples, which Buru said it had longstanding good relations with and is already actively engaged with them on an ongoing basis in its current operations. 

Read More 

Proactive Investors

Bubbling Condamine worries farmers

IN FOUR locations along the Condamine River near Chinchilla, suspected methane gas has bubbled to the surface, allegedly leaking from nearby coal seam gas plants.

While Warwick may not have felt the impact yet, with exploration under way across the region, it could be closer than expected.

Massie Bony Mountain farmer Richard Jubb, whose property backs on to the Condamine River, said if CSG plants were to be established nearby and methane was to leak into the river, the affects could be a concern.

"I don't think it is a problem at this stage but, yes, it is worrying," Mr Jubb said.
"It doesn't sound good to me."

State leader of Katter's Australian Party Rob Katter has called on ministers to investigate the methane gas leaks after footage of the bubbling water was captured by the Lock the Gate Alliance.

"When you have a bush river bubbling like a bottle of soda water, you know you have a problem," Mr Katter said.

"Any sensible government would step in and investigate these leaks because of the risk posed to water and food security."

The Southern Downs does not yet have any secured sites for CSG mining.

Warwick Daily News

Government begins talks for Galilee coal rail line

The Queensland Government says it will start urgent negotiations with mining companies in the Galilee Basin about sharing a rail line to transport coal to the coast.

The $6.4 billion Alpha coal project is the first of nine proposed mines in the basin region in central Queensland to be assessed by the State Government.

Indian company GVK and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal are planning to begin construction next year, after being granted conditional approval by the State Government for the mine yesterday.

However, the Alpha coal project, west of Rockhampton, still needs Federal Government environmental approval to proceed.

More than 3,500 workers will be needed during construction, and almost 1,000 once the mine is operating.

Read More and Watch Video

ABC News

Mining giant Gina Rinehart's newly approved coal rail line will rip through prime cattle land, farmers warn.

Queensland's coordinator general has given approval for the GVK-Hancock Coal $6.4 million project in Alpha in the state's central west and approval for Hancock Coal's proposed rail line from the mine to Abbot Point.

The 495km railway will cross the Belyando, Suttor and Mistake Creek flood plain, southwest of Mackay.

The state's peak farming group Agforce says it will affect the flow of water and impact on a key cattle grazing region where tens of thousands of cattle feed each year.

"It is some of Queensland's best cattle grazing country where cattle are fattened before being taken to the slaughterhouse," Agforce and local farmer Peter Anderson said.
"It will alter the flow of water, and if water stays too long in one area it will kill the grass, and if it moves too fast it will cause erosion."

He says landholders were not against the project but believe not enough planning has gone into where to best build the railway.

Read More

9 News - Finance

Empire hit by land delays

Empire Oil & Gas managing director Craig Marshall says its company-transforming Gingin gas field development remains on track despite the company missing a self-imposed deadline to finalise the purchase of the land where the processing plant is to be built.

An access dispute with the landowners was due to go to court this week. Empire announced last week it had agreed to buy the land on which it plans to build a processing plant for its Red Gully project, which will supply gas to Alcoa under a deal worth $25 million. At the time Mr Marshall said the final documents would be finalised by Monday of this week.

Mr Marshall said yesterday a binding agreement with landowners had been reached but the parties were yet to sign off on the finer details. He said the final documents had not yet been signed.

_WestBusiness _ understands Empire needs to finalise the land deal by late June or place at risk a Department of Mines and Petroleum offer for a licence for a pipeline linking the Red Gully plant with the Dampier-to-Bunbury pipeline.

Read More

West Australian

Greens move to protect Margaret River from mining

A PRIVATE member’s bill to amend the Mining Act 1978 to protect Margaret River and other sensitive areas from unwanted coal exploration and mining is scheduled to be debated in State Parliament on Thursday, June 14.

The Mining (Community Protection) Bill 2012 had its first and second readings on Thursday last week. It was introduced into the Legislative Council by Greens candidate for the South West, Giz Watson.
 
Ms Watson represents the North Metropolitan region but has announced her intention to contest the South West region at the May 9 state election next year.
 
On Wednesday last week her colleague, East Metropolitan MLC and Greens’ spokeswoman on water, Alison Xamon, introduced another motion into the Legislative Council calling for a moratorium on all “unconventional” gas exploration, including hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.
Ms Xamon is due to speak again next Wednesday on her motion, which calls for a moratorium until a “comprehensive regulatory framework” can be established to manage unconventional gas exploration and protect groundwater.
 
On Thursday Ms Watson used Margaret River as an example of why her amendment was needed to protect communities opposed to coal exploration and mining.
 
She claimed “the government is failing to protect the environment and the community of Margaret River from ongoing” coal mining proposals.

Read More

Augusta Margaret River Mail

Stop the drilling: Katter

OUTSPOKEN Queensland MP Bob Katter says it is "grossly irresponsible" to continue drilling for coal seam gas while a scientific committee assesses the potential environmental risks.

A bill establishing such an independent committee now will be considered by the Senate after it passed the lower house on Tuesday night with unanimous support.

But an amendment moved by Mr Katter, for a 12-month moratorium on aquifer drilling, was defeated after it received the support of only three MPs - Mr Katter, independent Andrew Wilkie and Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, whose amendment for a five-year moratorium was also voted down.

"It is no use doing the scientific research whilst they are out there drilling holes through the aquifer. You stop the drilling," Mr Katter told the parliament on Tuesday night.

"I fully agree with the honourable member behind me here (Mr Bandt) in saying that there should be a moratorium until that scientific work is done and assessed."

Read More

Warwick Daily News

Origin Energy Limited : Commencement of operations at Geographe gas field : Victoria

Origin Energy Limited (Origin), on behalf of the VIC/L23 Joint Venture, announces that drilling of the Geographe 2 development well in Victoria's Otway Basin commenced at 00.30hrs on Tuesday 29 May 2012.

Geographe 2 is one of two wells being drilled by Origin on behalf of the joint venture as part of the Geographe gas field development. The wells will be completed and connected to the existing Thylacine offshore platform via a subsea production system. Once operational, the field will be remotely controlled from shore.

Origin Chief Executive Officer, Upstream, Paul Zealand said, "Joint venture approval for the development of the Geographe field was obtained in October 2011 and the commencement of drilling represents the next important milestone in the development of this new production field for the Otway Gas Project."

VIC/L23 Participating Interests:

Origin Energy Resources Ltd * - Operator (67.23%)
Benaris International Pty Ltd (27.77%)
Toyota Tsusho Gas E&P Otway Limited (5.0%)
* a wholly owned subsidiary of Origin Energy Limited

For further information please contact:

Media
Lina Melero
General Manager, Corporate Communication

Media
Lina Melero
General Manager, Corporate Communication

Is this Coal Seam Gas’s Latest Disaster?




By its nature, any form of mining or underground exploration generates controversy from time to time.

The coal seam gas (CSG) industry, however, takes this to a new level. From tens of thousands marching through the streets of Sydney to local councils near Brisbane trying to impose moratoriums on new wells, the technology – which involves natural gas extraction from coal beds and has become an important source of energy in Canada, the US and elsewhere – raises public opposition and outcry to a new level.

Thus far, the industry’s record does not inspire confidence. A case earlier this year in which water samples near a coal seam gas leak in the Pilliga State Forest in New South Wales were found to contain a number of toxic chemicals in concentrations many times higher than safe drinking levels was a disaster for the industry’s image – not least because the spill was not reported by well owner Santos until a good six months after the leak occurred.

Now, activists may have found more evidence of CSG’s impact. In the latest development, investigators from anti-CSG group Lock the Gate discovered coal seam gas bubbling to the surface along a five-kilometer stretch of the Condamine River near Chinchilla.

The gas, Lock The Gate claims, is bubbling to the surface in at least four spots. A video the group posted on YouTube shows footage of the river bubbling like water in a spa and a hand-held gas detector going off when it was held near the surface of the water.


Design Build Source

Prime farm land a soft option

MINING companies are targeting agricultural land in a deliberate bid to reduce costs, federal MP Scott Buchholz says.

The Member for Wright made the comments while debating a bill before the parliament to establish an independent scientific committee to inform the decision-making process around CSG and large coalmining developments.

The bill was passed in the lower house on Tuesday night and now goes to the Senate.
Mr Buchholz said mining companies were "picking the low-lying fruit" in targeting farming land for exploration and drilling.

"You can see this if you juxtapose two positions," he said.

"If the mining companies were going into country west of my electorate where it is heavily timbered, there would be the cost of clearing that vegetation and the cost of machinery and fuel to get into those sorts of remote areas.

"As well as the cost of clearing virgin scrub, there would be the time delays imposed by the State Government - the green tape - and there would be the cost of pushing in access roads and of running in power, which I assume would all be part of the due diligence process.
"On the other hand, iconic farming land is mostly flat, with very easy access, normally by bitumen roads. It is always cleared of vegetation and it is mostly in close proximity to power used in irrigation.

Read More

Queensland Times

Solid Energy to Refocus Taranaki Coal Seam Gas Development : NZ

Solid Energy is refocusing its coal seam gas development work to Taranaki after successfully proving the technology in New Zealand conditions at its Huntly coal seam gas demonstration plant in the Waikato.
 
The latest independent appraisal of Solid Energy’s coal seam gas acreage in New Zealand’s Taranaki region indicates that Solid Energy now has 858,000 million cubic feet (mscf) of contingent resources. In energy terms, this is ~900 petajoules (PJ), the equivalent of 45 years’ supply for a combined cycle gas turbine like the 400MW generation unit at the Huntly Power Station.
 
The assessment, by Dallas-based Netherland, Sewell and Associates Inc (NSAI), is based on exploration results to 31 December 2011. Solid Energy previously reported its contingent (2C) coal seam gas resource holdings at 30 June 2010 as the equivalent of 190 PJ.
 
Dr Steven Pearce, Solid Energy’s General Manager Gas Developments, says the four-fold increase in contingent gas resources is extremely encouraging. “Dan Paul Smith, lead author of the report, says that based on NSAI’s knowledge of similar field developments, the best estimate (2C) resources have a reasonable chance of being commercial,” Dr Pearce says.
 
The Taranaki region is the centrepiece of New Zealand’s oil and gas production, with a number of downstream gas processing plants and associated petrochemical industries. The country’s two main gas transmission pipelines run to the west and north of Solid Energy’s coal seam gas tenement.

Read More

Stuff.co.nz

CSG expert challenges company's gas claim

An environmental engineer has questioned Origin Energy's assertion that gas bubbling in a Queensland river is a naturally occurring phenomenon.

A video by anti-coal seam gas group (CSG) Lock the Gates shows gas bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River near Chinchilla.

Origin Energy, which owns a number of test wells near the site, says it is a natural phenomenon caused by a shallow coal seam.

But CSG expert Dr Gavin Mudd from Monash University says "it beggars belief that there could be no contribution by industry".

Dr Mudd says there is no evidence to support Origin's claim and the case needs further investigation.

Read More

ABC News

CAML Resource Pty Ltd - Foxleigh Coal Mine

Project summary

CAML Resources Pty Ltd has lodged an application for an amendment to an existing environmental authority under Chapter 5 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 in relation to ML70171 and ML70309 for the purpose of including additional surface area on tenure MLA70470.
The following activities have been applied for:
  • Mining Black Coal
A copy of the Foxleigh Coal Mine draft environmental authority (PDF, 2.5M)* is available. 

Project location

The Foxleigh Mine is located in the Bowen Basin of Central Queensland in Australia. The coal deposits are located approximately 25km south east of the town of Middlemount, 200km west-north-west of the town of Rockhampton.




DERM

CSG panel a win for science: Windsor

The establishment of an expert panel to assess of coal seam gas projects is a win for science over vested interests, crossbench MPs say.

The House of Representatives has agreed to set up the panel to advise federal and state governments on CSG and coal mining projects.

The panel will help authorities decide disputes between farmers and miners using of the best available science.

It follows growing concerns about how the rapidly growing resource projects will affect productive land and underground water systems.

The government agreed to set the panel up as part of a deal in which independent MP Tony Windsor backed the mining tax.


9 News

Wednesday, May 30

'Sneaky' move by Aboriginal Land Council to mine Gong



The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is eyeing off suburban Wollongong for coal seam gas exploration, sparking a showdown with prominent elders and activists.

An application to examine a huge area of land stretching from Primbee in the south to Clifton in the north was lodged by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council in March, NSW Trade and Investment confirmed yesterday.
 
The proposed site covers densely populated neighbourhoods, vast stretches of coastline and a massive chunk of the environmentally sensitive escarpment.
 
Chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council Roy Kennedy blasted the decision as "sneaky" and "offensive".
 
"This goes against the very grain of who we are, what we stand for and what we have fought for," he said. "We're trying to protect our country and people who should be backing us up want to rip it up."
 
The application is one of five lodged by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council this year. Its chief executive officer, Geoff Scott, did not return calls yesterday.

Read More

Illawarra Mercury

Another mining worker stoush looms in Queensland

A $6.4 billion coal mine has been given conditional approval for Queensland's south-west and now needs a Federal sign off. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says his priority will be local employment and trade unions agree. But Queensland LNP Senator Barnaby Joyce and the state's Resources Council both argue that unless Australian workers want to move to remote mine sites then foreign workers should be used to get the projects built.


AM with Tony Eastley

Aborigines “shivering with fear” over Australian uranium plan

Aboriginal elders from Wiluna in central Western Australia have slammed the approval of a nearby future uranium mine by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). It now appears only a matter of time for the state government to endorse the EPA decision. The go-ahead is for the Toro Energy company's proposal to develop the first uranium mine in Western Australia 30 kilometres from Wiluna.
Wiluna local and senior law man, Glen Cooke, criticised the consultation process that led to the EPA approval. Mr Cooke wants a meeting with state and federal ministers to fight for the safety and rights of his people.

"Toro Energy they only talk to a few people, always the same people. It’s not right, the people from Bondini’s (the community closest to the proposed mine) sometimes they don’t know about meetings, or they are not invited to meetings or they can’t get to meetings. This is not right," said Mr Cooke.

“(State minister) Marmion and (federal minister) Burke they will be making a big decision that will affect our community, our dreaming and our health. Before they make a decision on what happens in our community, before signing away our country from many thousands of kilometres away they should come and look us in the eyes," he said.

Chairman of the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, Ngalia man Kado Muir, said the approval by the EPA "has sent a shiver" through Aboriginal communities.

 
Read More

indybay.org

Labor can't run class war as Rinehart deal unfuriates unions

IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Bowen has infuriated Julia Gillard and the nation's most powerful union leaders after granting Gina Rinehart, the world's richest woman, the right to import 1700 foreign workers for a massive West Australian iron ore project.
The scathing reaction from the unions over the decision to favour the mining magnate - while the government conducts a class war campaign against mining billionaires and vested interests to sell its "working families" budget - has exposed new divisions in the cabinet amid growing concerns about Julia Gillard's leadership.

As union leaders met the Prime Minister in Canberra yesterday, she told them she was "furious" the decision had not been taken to cabinet and that she had been informed of it only on Wednesday, sources have told The Weekend Australian.

By this time, Mrs Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting had already been informed of the decision and it could not be reversed.

Read More

The Australian

Pipelines and songlines cause beautiful Broome to turn ugly


A sign outside the council chambers where the Development Assessment Panel was meeting (Hilary Smale)

If it comes to fruition, the project could bring thousands of jobs to the region, and money to the traditional owners of the land.

Exploratory drilling is already underway, although the gas hub still doesn't have Federal Government approval.

During the past 40 years, up to nine state and federal organisations, including the Australian Academy of Science and Ministry of Premier and Cabinet in WA, have recognised the importance of James Price Point to the cultural history of the Kimberley.

But now the current Western Australian government and the Kimberley Land Council, the organisation which claims to represent traditional owners, consider it an appropriate place for a gas hub.

Some Goolarabooloo maintain their opposition to the development. Traditional owner Phillip Roe says it will destroy a culturally important songline and will set a precedent for more mining in the Kimberley.

But their fight is not just with Woodside and the State Government but also the Kimberley Land Council, the organisation which claim to represent traditional owners in the Kimberley.


ABC Rural

Bubbling in Queensland river blamed on coal-seam gas

CAMPAIGNERS say coal-seam gas is bubbling to the surface of a river in Queensland and they blame it on local CSG operations.
Drew Hutton, president of the Lock the Gates Alliance, which is fighting the expansion of the CSG industry, says the gas is appearing along five-kilometre stretch of the Condamine River near Chinchilla.

He said the gas was bubbling to the surface at at least four spots along the river, near where a CSG company is operating.

CSG company Origin Energy says it believes the seepage has nothing to do with its CSG activities in the affected area, where coal seams lie very close to the surface, and is naturally occurring.

Footage shot at an undisclosed location in the river has been posted on YouTube.
It purports to show parts of the river bubbling like a spa bath and a hand-held gas detector going off when it is held near the surface of the water.

Read More

The Australian

Farmers fearful over impact on properties

QUEENSLAND farmers remain concerned and uncertain about the impact on local properties of the state government's conditional approval yesterday of the $6.4 billion Hancock Alpha Coal Project in the Galilee Basin.
They fear the vast mine could jeopardise water flows and increase floods in one of Queensland's most important flood plains, between Clermont and Mackay, and put a stop to irrigation and food production expansion earmarked for the region.

AgForce councillor and local producer Peter Anderson is worried that a large tract of productive farmland will be lost because 495km of new railway linked to the Alpha mine crossing the fertile Mistake Creek, Suttor and Belyando flood plain had been ignored. "While the announcement does bring to an end three years of uncertainty for local primary producers, the resulting impacts on future production capability and environmental health could be dire," Mr Anderson said.

Read More

The Australian

Mining companies 'buying approvals'

MINING companies in Queensland and New South Wales effectively have been able to buy approval for coal seam gas projects, independent MP Tony Windsor says.

Mr Windsor told Federal Parliament on Monday night, while debating a bill to establish a scientific committee to assess future CSG and coal mining developments, the impact of these activities on groundwater systems was "potentially one of the most significant issues to face regional Australia".

He said the committee would be tasked with assessing these impacts.

The Member for New England said there had been failures in process and planning in both Queensland and NSW.

Acknowledging these failures, he said, was important to the committee's independence.

Read More

News Mail

Residents unite against plans to mine coal seam gas

DENHAM Court and Leppington residents have joined a Scenic Hills-led movement to oppose AGL’s plans to mine for coal seam gas on their shared boundary.

The Scenic Hills Association’s Jacqui Kirkby has been following the energy giant’s plans to expand the Camden Gas Project north to Denham Court Rd, which is the boundary of Camden and Liverpool councils.

The expansion, known as Stage 3, proposes to extend its coal seam gas mining into Scenic Hills and involves drilling more than 70 wells at 12 locations.

“We now have quite a few members from Denham Court and Leppington who have joined because they are concerned about the impact this could have on their land, their health and their suburbs,” Ms Kirkby said.

As a member of the Camden Gas Project community consultative committee, Ms Kirkby asked AGL if it could guarantee Stage 3 would not draw water or gas from coal seams beyond the mapped boundary at Denham Court and land in the Liverpool Council area, or have any related impact beyond the mapped boundary.

AGL said while it has no rights to drill outside the sub-surface project area, “coal is a complex geological reservoir, and ... it would be inappropriate for AGL to make a guarantee on the extent of the gas drainage area within the coal seam.”

Read More

Liverpool Leader

Media Release: Jeremy Buckingham MP

Contamination in the Condamine River


The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham said today that footage of methane gas bubbling up through the Condamine River in Queensland, close to coal seam gas well sites, was proof that the industry is unsafe and puts at risk our water supply.  He warned that the O’Farrell Government was about to put NSW rivers at risk by unleashing coal seam gas.

The footage of the gas bubbling up through the Condamine River can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/Di8cCrlyW6k
“Gas bubbling up through t a 5km stretch of the Condamine River is the worst case recorded so far of what appears to be pollution related to fracking for coal seam gas,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Fracking and drilling for coal seam gas by Origin Energy may have caused the rock to crack allowing gas to migrate into the aquifers and up through a major river.

“This is the canary in the coal seam gas well.  The O’Farrell Government must not allow the coal seam gas industry to pollute rivers and aquifers in NSW.

“The Condamine River is used for drinking water and irrigation.  It is both frightening to think the O’Farrell Government is willing to put rivers including the Manning, Namoi, Gloucester, Hunter, Richmond, Clarence, Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers at risk.

It has also allowed drilling in the Special Catchment Area on the Illawarra Plateau and near Warragamba Dam.

“The industry claims it is safe, but we’ve had toxic spills killing trees and polluting creeks in the Pilliga Forest, we’ve had well blow outs in Western Sydney and in Queensland, we’ve had contaminated aquifers in the United States, and now it seems they have fractured the rock beneath a major river in the Murray-Darling Basin and gas is leaking out uncontrolled.

“How many incidents do we need before the government wakes up and commits to protecting our water and land?
“It is disturbing that it falls to the public to highlight these incidents, while the companies and government either do not know what is happening, or are covering it up,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Media Release: Condamine River Gas Leak

Coal seam gas bubbling up through Condamine River

Lock the Gate investigators have discovered coal seam gas bubbling to the surface along a 5 kilometre stretch of the Condamine River near Chinchilla.
The gas is bubbling to the surface in at least four spots along this stretch of the river and, according to a local landowner, the coal Seam gas company operating in the area - Origin - has identified it as coal seam gas and is testing to see which of its seams it comes from.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, will be calling a media conference today at 10.30 a.m. in front of the Parliamentary Annexe to describe these findings and call for certain actions to be taken.

Mr Hutton, a former resident of Chinchilla, said that, while it was possible for methane to naturally bubble to the surface of waterways, none of the local farmers had ever heard of it happening in the Condamine River.

Also, the fact that it is occurring along several kilometres of the river would suggest it is not an isolated occurrence but a major leak and has found its way to the surface along migration pathways opened up by the de-watering of aquifers or fracking.

"I don't think there is any doubt this extensive leak is linked to the coal seam gas drilling, and probably fracking, that is occurring in nearby wells," Mr Hutton said.

"This is just one cut in the death-by-a-thousand cuts to the environment that will occur when we have the tens of thousands of wells across rural Queensland."

Mr Hutton said the incident had been reported to the Mines and Environment departments by a local landowner but these departments reportedly did not want to know about it.

A video of the gas bubbling through the river can be seen at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di8cCrlyW6k under the heading "Condamine River Gas Leak". The video was taken by Lock the Gate campaigner and local resident, Dayne Pratzky.

Contact: Drew Hutton 0428 487 110
Dayne Pratzky 0414 675 275
See More

Condamine River Gas Leak - 28th May, 2012


This footage was taken on 28/5/2012 at an undisclosed location on the Condamine River.

Tuesday, May 29

Natural gas fracking fizzles in Michigan


Fracking, the practice of pumping chemical-laced water underground to fracture the rock, has been practiced in Michigan for decades. (Photo by Heather Rousseau)
Just two years ago Michigan was well on its way to becoming Pennsylvania West — following in that state's footsteps as the next hotbed of natural gas exploration and production.

Since that time, the plummeting price of natural gas and concerns over the technology used to extract it — hydraulic fracturing — have brought the expected boom to a standstill.
"There is so much gas that we already (know) can be produced cheaply that exploring new areas and trying to commercialize them has ground to a halt everywhere," industry analyst Amber McCullagh said.

Despite that lull in production, the debate over natural gas has never been more intense — a high-stakes battle that could dictate the future terms of gas production when prices rebound.
That fight is playing out in Michigan's Legislature as well as the courts. Lawmakers have a spate of bills to consider that put restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." One citizens' group based in Charlevoix is trying to give voters the option of banning the practice outright. A new lawsuit filed in Ingham County seeks to force Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality to apply regulations on the books for injection wells to hydraulic fracturing.


The Detroit News

Mining is digging the heart out of conservation covenants



Conservation doesn’t fare well once the miners move in.

Across Australia, landholders are signing conservation agreements or covenants to protect biodiversity on their property. These agreements, offered by state governments, create private protected areas that commonly bind future landholders to protect the property’s biodiversity, ensuring the long-term survival of plant and animal communities.

It seems like a good deal: a private protected area comes at little to no cost to the government and offers protection to biodiversity that might not otherwise have been protected.

Unfortunately there’s a catch. The government does not exempt these private protected areas from mining activities. Rather, in all states of Australia, the government can still give miners permits to explore and extract in these private protected areas.

Read More

The Conversation

CSG concerns voiced

Close to 200 people turned out for a special coal seam gas forum at the Armidale Town Hall to hear from experts who spoke about the risks to water, health and the environment from coal seam gas mining.

The great turnout for the forum highlights again the wide and growing community opposition to coal seam gas mining, said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas (AACSG).

The attendees were shocked to learn that our governments have allowed this industry to roll out across NSW while there is still so much scientific uncertainty about its impacts. Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith informed the forum that only two of the 23 most commonly used fracking chemicals have been assessed by the national chemicals regulator.

John Polglase highlighted how little is known about our underground water systems and the many uncertainties that are associated with drilling, fracking and the extraction and re-injection of vast quantities of water.

He informed the forum that 90 per cent of the New England-North West region is now covered by coal seam gas licences or applications and that experiences in places like the Pilliga and the Liverpool Plains have shown that there are serious risks to bushland, farmland and communities from coal seam gas mining.

Read More

Armidale Independent

Fed Govt flags more expensive Murray-Darling plan

The latest draft Murray Darling Basin Plan is still sparking controversy. Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce from Queensland calls it a 'train wreck', the Victorian Government has branded it a 'death warrant' for some rural communities, and South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon has dismissed it as 'a political fix'. But the Environment and Water Minister Tony Burke says he can see a way to return more water to the river and reduce the impact on communities, but it will cost more.


The World Today with Eleanor Hall

Exoma Energy Preferred Tenderer

Exoma Energy has been appointed by the Queensland Government as preferred tenderer for the four new release areas, PLR2011-2-7, PLR2011-2-8, PLR2011-2-9 & PLR2011-2-12.

As reported on 29 November 2011, Exoma applied for four of the permit areas offered in the 2011 Queensland acreage release. The permit areas are located in the Galilee and Eromanga basins adjacent to Exoma's existing exploration permits. The areas are prospective for conventional oil, shale oil and gas and coal seam gas and in total cover an area of 19,213 sq kms.

The appointment gives Exoma the right to take up an Authority to Prospect in each area following the successful negotiation of a native title agreement with traditional land owners.

Exoma's joint venture partner CNOOC Gas & Power will have a participating interest in those permit areas taken up by Exoma.

Oil Voice

Writ issued against gas plant

KIMBERLEY Aborigines opposed to Woodside's proposed $40 billion liquefied natural gas precinct have launched new legal action in an attempt to stop the company gaining access to the site near Broome.

A writ filed in Western Australia's Supreme Court yesterday calls for an immediate injunction on Woodside's work at the James Price Point site.

Launched by Goolarabooloo law boss Richard Hunter, the writ against Woodside and the Shire of Broome alleges site approvals granted to the company in February are invalid.
According to the writ, this is because the local government panel that granted the approvals did not meet notification requirements and failed to wait to receive an official report from the shire.

Mr Hunter said the site approvals allow Woodside to go into highly sensitive cultural areas. He is being represented by WA's Environmental Defender's Office. Lawyer Josie Walker said Mr Hunter wanted an injunction placed on Woodside so that works would be immediately halted.

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The Australian

CSG court case could set precedent




A CASE that could set an important precedent for the amount of information resource companies should provide landholders is being considered before the Queensland Supreme Court.

Central Queensland grazier Michael Baker, Chess Park, Eidsvold, is challenging the processes used by former Queensland Mining Minister, Sterling Hinchliffe, to approve a Part 5 permission application under the Petroleum and Gas Act, lodged by coal seam gas miner QGC, which allows forced access to his property.
 
Mr Hinchliffe granted the permission on February 17, the last day before the Bligh Government entered its caretaker mode ahead of the March 26 election.
 
The court case, which was heard at the Supreme Court in Brisbane earlier this month, will decide whether the criteria Mr Hinchliffe used to grant the Part 5 permission was in accordance with the Petroleum and Gas Act.
 
A Part 5 permission order can be granted by the Minister to allow access to private land to enable a pipeline to be constructed after the impacted parties have been unable to reach a negotiated agreement.
 
Any Part 5 applicant must demonstrate the company has taken all reasonable steps to attempt a negotiated settlement with the landholder.
 
The Part 5 is valid for nine months and, once granted, the pipeline licence holder must still comply with its other legal obligations to the landholder, including compliance with its environmental authority and provision of notices of entry.

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QCL

Metgasco flags A$1.4B in future New South Wales gas investment

Metgasco (ASX: MEL) expects its fully developed coal seam gas business model to result in A$1.4 billion in direct expenditure over 20 years in the Northern Rivers area in New South Wales.

The company is planning to tap the resources contained in its 3 Clarence Moreton Basin permits to fuel a number of development options.

This includes domestic gas sales to Richmond Diaries and other businesses; providing gas to the Richmond Valley gas-fired power station; mini liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas; piping gas for LNG export; and gas sales to industrial customers in Queensland and New South Wales.

Metgasco, which had a quiet March 2012 quarter due to New South Wales Government approval restrictions, has being making preparations for a proposed core well and lateral well program to start in the middle of this year.

It is also taking steps to shoot seismic for its conventional oil and gas exploration and appraisal program in May or June before drilling the proposed Rosella-E01 well to test the Greater Mackellar structure in mid to late 2012.

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Proactive Investor

Federal Water Minister Tony Burke has power "to go over the top of the states"

MURRAY-DARLING Basin Authority chief Craig Knowles has opened the prospect of a flexible water extraction cap in an effort to win the support of state governments for the basin plan, while federal Water Minister Tony Burke has threatened to railroad them if no agreement is reached.
Mr Burke yesterday warned he had power under the Water Act "to go over the top of the states" if they did not endorse the plan to return more water to the ailing river system, declaring the issue needed to be resolved this year.

His comments followed a chorus of criticism from the South Australian, Victorian, NSW and Queensland governments.

As an olive branch to the states, Mr Knowles has said the basin plan could be legislated in such a way as to allow the MDBA to be able to revise the amount of water that will be returned to the environment, without having to take the plan back to the federal parliament.

The 2750 gigalitres of water to be diverted for environmental use could be revised up to 3200GL or down to 2400GL.

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The Australian

Activists advised on uranium site

The traditional owners of a proposed uranium mine in the State's Midwest do not want their community to become another flashpoint for anti-mining protests like James Price Point.

The Martu people have two complementary claims over the area where South Australian company, Toro Energy, are planning WA's first uranium mine.

"When we are talking about other groups coming in from outside, other anti-uranium groups like that I suppose the message we could send to them out there is that we are dealing with this in the most culturally appropriate manner," Darren Farmer, a spokesman for the native title claimants said.

The group have been in talks with Toro for more than two years over the proposed mine, with two sites located about 15km and 30kms south-east of Wiluna.

They have already negotiated significant concessions such as moving the uranium processor and redirecting the transport of ore around sites of cultural significance.

People are worried about the possible health effects of the mine because of the history of uranium exploration in the region and there were a range of views about the project in the community, according to a statement put out by the Central Desert Native Title Services, who are co-ordinating the Martu claim.

Mr Farmer said his people had some concerns about outside groups with particular agendas influencing negotiations.

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The West Australian

New draft report on Murray-Darling water use

TONY EASTLEY: Later this morning the Murray Darling Basin Authority will release another draft plan as the $10 billion river reform inches ever closer.

The plan is expected to slash the amount of groundwater that can be extracted by farmers and miners.

It's not the final plan - the Environment Minister Tony Burke can still make changes to it before he presents the report to Parliament.

Conor Duffy is the ABC's environment reporter.

Conor good morning. How is it that we're now seeing another of these draft plans?

CONOR DUFFY: Well many people in the bush Tony are wondering exactly the same thing. They're wondering how after five years the authority could still be working on the draft.

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AM with Tony Eastley

Queensland government gives tick to massive Rinehart coal project

A MASSIVE mine part-owned by billionaire Gina Rinehart in central Queensland is one step closer, after the Newman government today announced its approval for the $6.4 billion Alpha Coal project.
The approval is the first for a coal mine in the Galilee Basin, but the project still needs environmental approval from the federal government.

The open-cut mine, expected to be one of the biggest coal mines in Australia, will extract 30 million tonnes annually for 30 years.

If federal approvals are granted, construction could start next year, with an operational start from 2016.

While the project has space allocated at Abbot Point, it also needs approval for a rail corridor linking the port with the Galilee Basin, 200kms further inland from the existing coal mining area of the Bowen Basin.

Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting was the original developer of the mine, but last year it sold 79 per cent of its interests in the proposed Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin, 100 per cent of another mine, Kevin's Corner, and rail and port infrastructure, to Indian company GVK Coal for $1.2 billion.

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The Australian

THE IMPACTS OF LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) ON THE ECOSYSTEM: Gas Battle Heats Up In Australia

 
Few issues have focused the environmental movement in Australia as the fight to protect the Kimberley wilderness. The Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry has seen a number of colossal projects commence in recent years, however few have attracted controversy like the Browse Basin project. This project involves the construction of a major LNG hub at James Price Point on Western Australia’s Kimberley coast. Opponents of the project claim that this hub will cause significant environmental damage to a fragile ecosystem, while the Western Australian State Government and the Australian Federal Government claim that Browse will deliver jobs, economic stimulus for Indigenous communities and a needed boost to the Australian economy.

As reported by Raina Spooner of WA Today, corporate risk expert Katherine Teh-White has stated that “Browse has become a national scandal.” Teh-White criticizes Woodside, who failed to work with the local community and develop a “social license to operate”. Instead, the local communities have steadfastly opposed the development, creating numerous delays which have thrown the future of the project into considerable doubt.

LNG Growth Gathering Momentum

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) state that by 2016, worldwide trade in LNG will have reached 230 million tons. Australian LNG production is set to increase markedly, with developments such as the AUD$43 Gorgon project, the AUD$34 billion Ichthys project and the similarly massive Pluto LNG project set to commence gas production in coming years.


Global Research

Concerns over funding of new Coal Seam Gas Centre



Concerns have been raised over the independence of the University of Queensland's new Coal Seam Gas research centre because of funding the centre receives from industry based mining companies.

The Research Integrity Coalition is concerned that the University of Queensland's Coal Seam Gas Centre cannot conduct independent research into the fast growing industry because three quarters of the funding for the Centre is being financed by mining companies QGC, Santos and Arrow Energy.

Convenor of the Research Integrity Coalition Abraham O'Neill says the coalition is worried that there is a high representation of Coal Seam Gas representatives on the governing board of the centre, which could ultimately influence what research is conducted.

"We're talking $15 million dollars from CSG companies over five years, UQ has put in $5 million dollars over the same amount of time," he says.

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612 ABC Brisbane

Greens call for moratorium on CSG

THE Greens are calling for a five-year moratorium on further coal seam gas approvals while a scientific advisory committee undertakes research into its impacts.

Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt plans to move an amendment to a bill that will establish an independent expert scientific committee on coal seam gas and large coal mining development.

The committee will operate as a statutory authority to provide federal, state and territory governments with scientific advice on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments which may have significant impacts on water resources.

While welcoming the establishment of the committee, Mr Bandt said the proposals before the parliament did not "go far enough".

Greens mining spokeswoman Senator Larissa Waters said a five-year moratorium on CSG exploration was needed "until we know whether it is safe for our land, our water, our climate, our reef and our communities".

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Daily Mercury

Gas well plans spark concern

Plans to operate 1000 coal-seam gas wells in the Northern Rivers are sparking concerns about the possible impact on other industries.

Metgasco estimates it will need supplies from about 1000 wells to meet predictions of a $2 billion-dollar boost to the local economy over 20 years.

Michael McNamara, from the Lock the Gate Alliance, says the region's tourism and agriculture industries are already worth more.

He says they should not be put at risk.

"When Metgasco talk about a thousand wells, you're not talking about tucked away in out-of-the-way places and not seen," Mr McNamara said.

"When they fully develop a gas field to production, they need wells about every 500 to 750 metres in every direction.

"It looks like a lace tablecloth.

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ABC News

Lesley's steaming over CSG


Lesley McQueen of Lynchs Creek is in training for a marathon walk planned for August.

LESLEY McQueen is fit but she will need to be fitter to walk 80km over three days in August to raise funds and raise awareness about opposition to the coal seam gas industry.

She lives at Lynchs Creek, north of Kyogle and in the foothills of the Border Ranges National Park.

She's in training walking the slopes of those ranges and along the route of the Lions Way pipeline proposed by coal seam gas company Metgasco.

The pipeline would run next to the 4ha property Ms McQueen shares with her three young children. It would run through Lynchs Creek locality where her family have lived for five generations.

She will walk from Casino to Kyogle and then via the proposed pipeline route to the Queensland border to hand over to another walker to continue the journey to Ipswich.

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Daily Examiner

Monday, May 28

Fight against coal seam gas mining in the Macarthur continues



Protesters against coal seam gas mining say Macarthur drinking water is at risk of contamination, if mining goes ahead in local catchment areas.

The Stop CSG Alliance is urging locals to attend an Action Meeting next Tuesday (29th May, 2012) night at Warragamba Town Hall.

Spokesperson Naden Seisun says locals should be more aware of their rights.

"The Environmental defenders office will talk to us about our legal rights over the land and coal seam gas mining; what we can and can't do, and how that affects individual land owners," she said.

C913 FM

'Coal is killing Australia', new book reveals




Rich Land, Wasteland
Sharyn Munro
Exisle Publishing & Pan Macmillan
453 pages, pb, $29.99

When a coalmine starts up near a township, a village or a farm it is to be expected that lives will change.

Indeed change is often promised and welcomed ― more Jobs, more money flowing into the community, better roads and services. In short, progress is promised.

The reality, however, is that not only do the benefits not evolve as the mines begin their operations, they destroy the land, pollute the water and air, erode people's physical and emotional health and rip up the social fabric.

The media lead us to believe that Australia's wellbeing depends on the mining sector. The more minerals that are exported, the healthier the Australian economy is and the better off we are.

But such stories hide the real impacts of mining from most Australians.

Sharyn Munro puts aside “the diversionary cloud of spin” and tells the real story of coal mining. A resident of the upper Hunter who saw the coal mines taking over vast tracts of that valley, she spent a year travelling to the different parts of Australia where coalmining is destroying communities, livelihoods and ecosystems.
She found that “coal is killing Australia”.

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Green Left Weekly

Doctors prescribe solar treatment for coal addiction

A May 3 briefing to South Australia’s parliament by Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) has drawn attention to important research on the alarming health effects of coal burning on the Port Augusta community, reaffirming the case for a speedy transition to solar thermal power for the region.

The briefing coincided with the release of DEA research into the impacts of particulate pollution on Port Augusta residents confirming what locals have long suspected: the town's two nearby coal power stations (only three kilometres away) have significantly contributed to Port Augusta's higher than expected rates of lung cancer, childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Air quality data from 2005-2011 obtained from Alinta, owner of the power stations, and the SA Environment Protection Authority (EPA), revealed that in five out of seven years, the number of days where levels of particulate pollution were higher than national ambient air quality standards dramatically exceeded the legislated goal of less than six days a year.

In 2007, the number of days on which levels of particulate pollution exceeded ambient air quality standards was calculated at 66 — more than 11 times the number of days considered acceptable.


Green Left Weekly

Communities use new tactics to go CSG free

Across NSW, dozens of local groups have organised to campaign against coal seam gas (CSG) mining. After years of using official channels of protest, they have been frustrated by the lack of response from the government and feel that they have no choice but to change tactics.

In the Pilliga state forest south of Narrabri, 92 wells have been drilled to explore for CSG. In June last year, 10,000 litres of untreated saline CSG water were leaked into the environment.

The Wilderness Society says gas company Santos wants “to drill 1100 CSG wells in the Pilliga forest which will result in the clearing of thousands of hectares of forest and the fragmentation of at least 85,000 hectares. Pilliga Forest is a crucial habitat for national and internationally protected species”.

Jane Judd from group Friends of the Pilliga told Green Left Weekly they are concerned about the environmental impacts such as clearing of the forest and the impact on wildlife. “There are threatened species, such as koalas and the Pilliga mouse, that use the Pilliga as a refuge in an area surrounded by farmland. The additional pressure and habitat loss could push them over the edge into extinction.

“We wrote so many submissions, the state government have ignored us.”




Mel Barnes
Coal Seam Gas News

Undiluted Murray plan leaves states cold



Colin Grundy, with son Jack, 8, on the family's Mundoo Island property yesterday. Picture: Kelly Barnes Source: The Australian

THE Murray-Darling Basin Authority faces another confrontation with the states today, when it will release a revised blueprint for reforming the river system that slashes the volume of groundwater that can be used but makes no change to the amount of surface water to be reclaimed from farmers for the environment.
After 20 weeks of consultation following the release of the draft basin plan in November, it is understood the MDBA has not been convinced to change the total amount of water that will be diverted from agriculture to the environment from the 2750 gigalitres in the plan.

But the amount of water permitted to be extracted from underground aquifers, including by mining companies, will be reduced by almost 1200GL to 3184GL, and new salinity targets will be set for for the Coorong, the Lower Lakes and the Murray mouth in South Australia.
It is understood the authority could redirect more water to the lower reaches of the system if salinity levels were too high.

Murray mouth cattle and grain farmers Colin and Sally Grundy, who are angry their river water is too salty for irrigation, said they would be disappointed if the diversion limit were not changed from the recommendation.


The Australian

Urban sprawl, mining, reserves biting into best farmland

AUSTRALIA risks losing some of its best farmland to urban sprawl, mining and conservation reserves because it has no national policy to protect and prioritise agricultural production.
The amount of land lost to agricultural production is still small on a national level but sometimes significant at a local level, according to research released today by the Australian Farm Institute.

But, without any Australia-wide system to classify or map farmland according to its agricultural potential, or any national political will to give food production a long-term value or specific protection, the institute fears these losses will hasten and worsen.

Institute executive director Mick Keogh said the two-year research project by scientists and planners from La Trobe and RMIT universities, led by land-use expert Trevor Budge, questioned if Australia risked being profligate in wasting or taking out of production its best farmland.


The Australian

Miners ramp up offshore recruitment




SHORTAGE: Mining companies are desperate for skilled workers. Source: The Courier-Mail

THE resources industry is ramping up overseas recruitment of skilled workers, even without the controversial enterprise migration schemes that have caused upheavals in the Federal Government.
A Queensland Resources Council survey found the state's skills shortage is so dire it is taking up to 200 days to employ a worker and companies have no choice but to go hunting overseas.

In the Bowen Basin, companies are struggling to recruit process and mining engineers, geologists and surveyors.

A worrying issue is that some jobs, such as open cut examiners and mine deputies, are a legal requirement and mines cannot operate without them.

Skilled fitters and turners and electricians are also difficult to find and expectations in the industry are that projects will not proceed without access to foreign workers.

The QRC found there was a commitment by most companies to recruit locally, but competition for workers was high as the coal seam gas sector in Queensland and NSW was expanding so rapidly.
 
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Courier Mail
 
Editor's Note:   Another Labor Government exclusive!!  Hello?   What ever happened to Australian jobs for Australian people?  Hello? Hello?  Is there anybody out there???