Mining magnate Clive Palmer has clarified his recent comments about coal seam gas (CSG), saying he has reservations about CSG, typically the methane found trapped in coal beds often released using water. However he does support its development in a safe and responsible way and that the government needed to ensure water supplies were protected.
Critics say the industry could pollute the environment because it uses a drilling technique known as “fracking,” a method used to split underground rock formations by injecting chemicals and water to release trapped gas.
The CSG extraction process has prompted calls for more scientific research into the industry because of the potential for Australia’s groundwater resources to be damaged by gas exploration.
Palmer told a National Party conference in Canberra that overseas companies, who extract CSG, expressed concerns that Australia doesn`t have enough skilled employees and lack the technological background that they have.
Our CSG operations to best international standards
Yet Gavin Wendt, a senior resources analyst with Mine Life, said major CSG operations in Australia were to the best of international standards. But he said the industry had grown so rapidly that regulators were playing catch-up to ensure all environmental concerns were covered.
Palmer, who built his fortune on property development and mining, owns vast iron ore reserves throughout Australia and says both the Queensland government and participating mining companies must commit to the best technologies and practices to ensure there is no risk to the environment or human health.