underground coal gasification plant

Queensland Natural Resources and Mines minister Anthony Lynham announced on April 18 that the government has banned underground coal gasification (UCG) in the state, arguing the environmental risks outweigh the economic benefits.

He said the ban, which would apply immediately as government policy, would be legislated by the end of the year.

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

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has laid five criminal charges against multinational mining company Linc Energy for causing irreversible environmental damage around the site of its experimental underground coal gasification (UCG) plant at Chinchilla, on the western Darling Downs.

The charges allege that Linc wilfully and unlawfully caused serious contamination with carbon monoxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, carcinogenic BTEX and other gases.

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