Millmerran Power Station … Glencore wanted to capture carbon dioxide from the coal-fired power station for sequestration in an aquifer (Photo: DiamondIIIXX)

May 24, 2024

The State Government has rejected mining company Glencore’s proposed carbon capture and storage project in the Surat Basin.

The company had proposed a trial to capture carbon dioxide created at the Millmerran coal-fired power station.

The gas would be liquified and transported by road to a storage well near Moonie, then injected into an aquifer about 2.3km underground.

Glencore had hoped to inject 330,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into what it described as a “high-fluoride, brackish water aquifer” over three years.

However, the plan to pump the liquefied gas – dubbed “industrial waste” by opponents – into the Great Artesian Basin was met with howls of protest, including from lobby group AgForce which launched legal proceedings.

A statement from the Department of Environment said the project was “not suitable to proceed due to potential impacts on groundwater resources” and suggested other carbon capture and storage projects would also not be viable in the Great Artesian Basin.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud said his party fully supported carbon sequestration projects as a method to support the coal and gas industries abate their emissions “but only in the appropriate place and once there is confidence in the science”.

“The Great Artesian Basin is an important water source for farmers and communities in Queensland,” Mr Littleproud said.

“It’s imperative we protect it and that proper, thorough assessments are undertaken for any sequestration project.”

AgForce applauded the State Government’s “leadership and courage” for knocking back the Glencore application.

“The decision has been praised by industry and communities across four States and territories of Australia, as it puts to rest the immediate risk from this specific proposal,” AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said.

“This project was clearly a trial for future upscaling in this aquifer in the Great Artesian Basin, which Glencore believed had a storage capacity of up to 730 billion litres of industrial waste.

“So, while we celebrate this State Government decision, our thoughts now immediately go to how to best protect the Great Artesian Basin into the future from such environmental threats.”

Lock the Gate Alliance also welcomed the State Government’s decision.

“Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the last time the Queensland community is forced to fight such projects, with Federal Labor’s Future Gas Strategy effectively promoting carbon capture and storage across the Great Artesian Basin,” national co-ordinator Carmel Flint said.

“The widespread opposition across the political spectrum to Glencore’s carbon capture and storage plan should serve as a warning to any attempts by the Albanese Government or fossil fuel companies to foist similar projects on Australian communities.”

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