By Mark Willacy
Asked if the recent discovery of gases near the surface of properties at Hopeland was related to the alleged underground incident involving the Linc UCG project, the department acknowledged “there is an ongoing prosecution of Linc Energy”, and as such it could not comment further.
“Given the nature of the gases found, [the department] cannot rule out an underground fire as a cause, however at this early stage of the soil sampling, [the department] has not been able to determine the actual source or cause,” the department said in a statement.
Queenslandâ€™s Department of Environment says it is not ruling out an underground fire as the cause of gases detected just below the soil surface near Chinchilla, on the western Darling Downs.
But the Lock the Gate Alliance has warned that the gases found, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide, “are explosive and farmers in the Hopeland area have been advised not to excavate or disturb soils greater than two metres deep without talking to the department”.
The Hopeland area is the site of coal seam gas facilities and was the location of an underground coal gasification pilot plant run by Linc Energy.
Photo: Linc Energy ran the underground coal gasification pilot plant at Chinchilla which is now the subject of court action.
The Linc Energy UCG project is now the subject of court action by the state environment department, which alleges the UCG operation near Chinchilla caused serious environmental harm.
“We are concerned that the departmentâ€™s release may cause an inference to be drawn that these [gas] readings were in some way related to the companyâ€™s Chinchilla operations,” a spokesman for Linc Energy said.
Read more here: ABC