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  VANGUARD  
 
Indigenous and Copley communities oppose Leigh Creek coal seam gas profit-making venture
 
 

Ned K.

A meeting of the Copley Community, Aroona Council and Adnyamathanha Camp Law Mob met in early October to plan actions, including court action, to stop what they describe as the "dirty, filthy business" of underground in-situ coal gasification going ahead in the Leigh Creek area where they live.

Following the closure of the coal mine at Leigh Creek by mulitinational Alinta when the Port Augusta coal-fired power station closed, another company Leigh Creek Energy wants to embark on an "in-situ gasification" project which converts coal to a synthesised gas by burning it underground and bringing to the surface for baseload electricity and ammonium nitrate products.

The company project involves capital investment from yet another Hong Kong based energy company, called China New Energy. This company has several coal mining and power station ventures in mainland China and a dubious environmental record.
 
The Leigh Creek Energy project is opportunist profiteering, exploiting the policy of the federal government which allows gas exploration companies like SANTOS to export enormous amounts of gas creating an artificial gas shortage in Australia and high electricity prices.
 
Friends of the Earth describe the in-situ gasification process as "an experimental mining technology with a track record of failure, polluting the air, groundwater and soil." It involves injecting air or oxygen into coal seams and extracting 'synthetic gas' through wells drilled in the coal seam and a concoction of toxic chemicals to make this polluting process work.
 
This is history repeating itself, another disaster about to happen but avoidable with people power!
 
A similar venture at Chinchilla in Queensland was shut down thanks to the efforts of people power resulting in the Queensland state government Minister describing the coal seam gas project there as "the biggest pollution event probably in Queensland's history"!
 
With rising unemployment in South Australia as anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 jobs disappear this month due to the close down of the vehicle industry in Australia, and an SA state election in March next year, politicians will be looking for any "growth" projects as something to sell and support to win a few votes.
 
Dangerous times for the people and the environment, particularly those around Leigh Creek as enormous pressure will be put on them to see this polluting project go ahead.