Coal drilling sparks more angst
UNTIL recently Allora farmer Keith Rix was always more interested in the cattle market than mining companies.
But the 70-year-old has been galvanised into action by concerns the land hisfamily has worked since 1950 may soon be adversely affected by a coal gasification project.
He worries underground drilling could have serious implications for local bore water levels.
“Our stock bores have been down more than 60 years and I don’t think we know enough about what these companies will do to be certain water tables won’t be affected,” Mr Rix said.
“Last year was one of our driest years ever, but at least we had bore water.
“Without water you can’t do anything out here, so we need to do what we can to protect it.”
Mr Rix was speaking out after recent announcements by Sydney-based Clean Global Energy that exploratory drilling in our region was progressing “very well”.
CGE chairman John Harkins this week offered assurances his company was “environmentally sound”.
He said worldwide testing had clearly shown there would be minimal impact on underground aquifers from underground coal gasification.
“Because we are drilling so deep, farming land water tends to be well above where we would be gasifying the coal,” Mr Harkin said.
It’s a month since CGE started exploratory drilling across the Southern Downs to locate coal sources.
Yesterday in the Daily News Mt Marshall land-holder Wayne Adamson spoke out, urging farmers to take action to protect pristine local agricultural land and water from mining.
It is a call Mr Rix hasheeded.
“We to be united and say not here: this is quality land with good water,” he said.
“We don’t need mining: we need to look after things for the future.”
Warwick Chamber of Commerce president John Randall has also called for debate about the sustainable benefits of mining in ourregion.
“We need to balance the business opportunities of future mining with any lifestyle challenges that may be created by this new activity in our area,” Mr Randall said.
“There are as many upsides to coal seam gas production in our region as there are downsides.”
The Daily News understands exploratory drilling by CGE is under way in the Goomburra, Mount Marshall, Gladfield and Maryvale areas.