Glencore sticks by carbon capture project with calls for Govt intervention

Eric Barker, 28/11/2023

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to inject waste CO2 from a coal-fired power station into an aquifer of the Great Artesian Basin has been met with calls for the project to be abandoned or rejected.

Swiss mining giant Glencore has recently completed its final Environmental Impact Statement on a plan to capture waste CO2 from the Millmerran Power Station in Southern Queensland and compress the gas into liquid form, before transporting it 260km further west to Moonie. Its subsidiary Carbon Transport and Storage Company is planning to do it as a three-year trial.

But the plans have been strongly opposed by the local agricultural industry, with concerns it may harm the Precipice Sandstone aquifer, which is used for livestock and drinking water.

Many have been calling for the government to intervene and strengthen its protections over the GAB, which are in place for major polluting activities like coal mining and coal seam gas – but not carbon capture and storage.

Beef Central provided a comprehensive analysis of the concerns in February – with the main concern being that it could significantly increase the acidity of the resource.

CTSCo says its trial site is a long way from any agricultural operations and is unlikely to harm stock water. It says the waste is going into a part of the aquifer where the water is brackish and has very high fluoride levels.

“The Precipice Sandstone aquifer identified by CTSCo for carbon dioxide storage is 2.3km underground – this is much deeper than the aquifers currently used for agricultural in the region,” the company said in a statement.

“Not a single agricultural producer is currently drawing or using water from this aquifer within 50km of CTSCo’s proposed storage site.”

Ned Hamer, who is a hyrdrogeologist and principal of groundwater consulting practice Earth Science, has disputed this claim saying the water is suitable for livestock at the 2.3km.

CTSCo says it has been open and transparent about its plans, meeting with local landholders and receiving reviews from independent experts, including the Australian Government Independent Expert Scientific Committee, the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment and CSIRO.

Beef Central has contacted CSIRO to discuss its role in the process and its assessment of the project – this article will be update with any potential response.

Calls for Govt intervention

With many agricultural lobby groups and politicians speaking up about the project in recent weeks, representative group Farmers for Climate Action has called for Federal Government intervention.

“It’s fantastic to see MPs from both sides of politics speaking out about this proposal – Federal Nationals MP Colin Boyce and Queensland state Labor Water Minister Glenn Butcher,” chief executive officer Natalie Collard said.

“We hope Water Minister Tanya Plibersek explores her Ministerial powers to veto this proposal.

“Asking polluters whether they think their projects will cause harm is not doing due diligence. This proposal should be refused, now, and all future projects planning on injecting heavy metals into farming water should be rejected.

“It’s time we hold polluters accountable and prioritise water security and food security, which are key planks of national security. Having a stable, locally grown food supply is not optional.”

Project to have “no impact on nationally protected matters”

Beef Central contacted the office of environment minister Tanya Plibersek to see whether there were any plans to intervene. A spokesperson from the environment department said the project did not trigger any protections to the Great Artesian Basin as it was not a coal seem gas or large coal mining development.

“Glencore’s proposed Surat Basin Carbon Capture and Storage Project was referred to the department and determined not to be a controlled action under national environment law as is unlikely to result in a significant impact on nationally protected matters,” the spokesperson said.

“This means that the Australian Government does not need to approve the project under national environmental law.”

Decision to be made next February

The project is now with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, which is an independent regulator of the state’s environmental laws. It will now determine whether CTSCo has adequately responded to the submissions in its EIS and will decide whether it can proceed to the next step.

It is expected to make a final decision on the EIS in February next year.

Qld environment minister Leanne Linard said while the process was happening independent of the minister, she was confident in the department’s process.

“There are strict regulatory requirements associated with the assessment of Carbon Capture and Storage projects in Qld under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019,” Ms Linard said.

“I am confident that the rigorous assessment being undertaken will address any environmental concerns associated with the project, including consideration of potential impacts to groundwater in the GAB.”


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  1. Jane Tannahill-irons, 15/04/2024

    This proposal is just terrifying. The Great Artesian Basin is a huge clean water asset. Carbon dioxide acidity may cause leaching of heavy metals like cadmium to escape into the basin water. This would be unfixable.. just like the unpredicted fracking pollution in USA has rendered farmland unusable….we do not want this version of carbon capture. Oppose it strongly. Write to your MP. Let your opposition be known.

  2. Jan Munro, 21/03/2024

    When I heard about this ridiculous plan, I thought it had to be a joke. What a sick joke it turns out to be! Australia is already the driest inhabited continent on earth, but we have a national treasure – the Great Artesian Basin. This precious water resource gives us hope of continuing survival and the ability to grow food to feed our own people. Without this water we simply cannot survive. How could our State and Federal Governments foolishly allow this disastrous plan to be approved? Have the courage to stand up and say NO to this foreign owned company, and anyone else who plans to damage or destroy this irreplaceable resource.

  3. Zelda may Whiting, 06/03/2024

    This is absolute insanity leave our artesian water table alone cancel this contract immediately we will have no fresh water it will destroy everything in it’s path animals trees water is our life source why would anyone in their right mind even consider this

  4. Jenni Balm, 02/03/2024

    Are you kidding me, this will over time absolutely destroy everything associated with the Basin, the land surrounding, the animals, wild life and Australia. How can this go ahead without our The AUSTRALIANS input. All for more profits. We will be left with a country that is destroyed an unusable land, no good for anything, while they sit back with their luxury lives in a country that would never allow this to happen in their own lands. Do you believe they would allow us to go in and poison their land and water. No way in hell.

  5. Wendy Fogarty, 01/03/2024

    The Australian Government continues to contend that the Australian Food system is secure. This proposal provides yet more evidence of the current and previous governments failure to recognise the innately fragile nature of the ecosystems upon which ALL Australian life is dependent. Further, it kids itself when it states (via its Rare Metals development body etc.) that Australia has a “very good environmental record when it comes to mining”.I think the Great Barrier Reef (& all its living organisms) would disagree…as well as those of us who saw it in the ‘70s.

  6. Elizabeth Paterson, 10/02/2024

    The Great Artesian Basin is not Glencores to pollute. It belongs to all Australians and specifically to the farmers in Qld and the immediate region. How dare the Government and our Environment Minister try to sneak this through. This is disgraceful. Who in their right mind would agree that pumping dirty CO2 into our pure Artesian Basin is acceptable under any circumstances.

  7. Tracey Downey, 29/12/2023

    I think this is unacceptable, you can not let this happen. I want to know why on earth this is even in discussions. The Government are payed by the people of Australia and i think its about time you lot think of the people and not what money you can be making. Look after our water. Time to put our people first and stop all the bad things going on in our country from people who flash around money from other countries which don’t give a shit about what destruction they do. Put the people first and do not allow this to happen.

  8. Annette Pringle, 21/12/2023

    I cannot comprehend a government that allows pollution to be dumped in any water source let alone the Great Artesian Basin – one of Australia’s greatest treasures.

  9. Charles Turner, 14/12/2023

    I cannot believe in this day and age of concern about our environment that any one would even think of this ‘mind blowing’ idea. MONEY! The Government will probably pay Carbon Credits to Glencore and all the arguments about the depth of CO2 in the Artesian Basin is just to try and justify this abuse of our significant natural water treasure. The Govt may change next year and ideas from both sides of Govt should be sought now to help us decide on the Oct 2024 election outcome!

  10. Jesse Harford, 14/12/2023

    Such an outrageous idea to pass. That body of water is gold and should not be tampered with

  11. Lee Martin, 12/12/2023

    What a horrible idea. A Swiss company happy to ruin Australia, transport your waste to the Swiss Alps. See how happy they’d be with that proposal

  12. Peter Wallis Douglas, 12/12/2023

    Underground water is Australia’s greatest asset, should not be meddled with

  13. Jessica Johnston, 11/12/2023

    This is something that should not even be considered, this will devastate local communities, businesses, and farmers.
    I feel overseas companies should not be allowed to affect Australians in a negative way. I work at a place with hot springs and can guarantee you I will not be swimming int the waters if this goes ahead!!
    Please don’t do this!!

  14. Karen Nightingale, 11/12/2023

    I strongly object to Glencore using the Artesian Basin as a dumping ground. Surely there must be another place like the desert that would work? Come on government people do your job !

  15. Wal Embrey, 09/12/2023

    You can not be serious, why is this even an option?
    Our Government are spending Billions of our tax payers money to apparently go green to protect the environment. Once it’s starts it won’t stop. 3 year trial?
    1 day trial would be to long.
    Please stop this.

  16. Simon McLean, 09/12/2023

    This can not be good, we have to protect our natural resources not pollute them. The government is closing down coal fired power stations to protect the envronment, but are going to let this happen , it crazy.
    Is it just because it hasn’t made it to mainstream media? We must get the word out there.

  17. Jade Carey, 08/12/2023

    This should not be allowed. If even no one is currently pumping from the basin – the fact that the water could be made acidic by pumping the CO2 waste into it and therefore actually affecting how the basin self operates – should be banned. Why do we keep destroying these wonderful natural ecosystems and biodiversity with our waste. Find a better solution to dump waste and stop destroying and poisoning our earth!!! NO to GLENCORE!!!

  18. MR PETER HOLLOWAY, 07/12/2023

    This is wrong on every level. I ‘am not a university graduate just a proud Aussie and this has to stop.

  19. Lisa, 07/12/2023

    Australia politicians really do need to start acting in the interest of all it’s people and the country. Stand up for Australia, your number one priority. After all it’s what puts food on your table too.
    Have a conscience. The fact that this remains unknown to wider Australia suggests there’s a lot being hidden or undisclosed.

  20. Archie Holland, 07/12/2023

    I strongly oppose the proposal to dump Co2 into the Great Artesian Basin, or into any water source for that matter. It is disgusting that any company should be able to pollute the environment like this by way of a loophole in government policy. We must not let this happen.

  21. Terry Williams, 07/12/2023

    I cannot believe that this proposition is even being considered. The GAB is possibly Australia’s most important natural resource. We are the driest continent on the earth. The Qld and Federal governments should act now to veto any possibility of Glencore, or any other company, using any part of the basin as a dumping ground for any waste products. Terry Williams

  22. Daniel Turner, 07/12/2023

    Once again a massive foreign company making Billions off our natural resources thinking it’s ok to mess with the GAB and possibly destroy one of our nations greatest assets. What’s really concerning it the Qld government even looking at the project as a possibility.

  23. Helen Johnston, 07/12/2023

    Leave our natural resources alone. No Aussie should be doing this, let alone a foreign company. Just STOP ruining our country.

  24. Kathy Gannon, 06/12/2023

    Should NEVER be even considered.
    I am sure this Swiss Company would NEVER be allowed to do this in their own very beautiful home country of Switzerland. NO NO and NO!!!

  25. Adam Dominick, 06/12/2023

    If this Swiss company believes that this is a good idea then while this product is in liquid form, take to back to Switzerland and dispose of it there.

  26. Garrey Sellars, 04/12/2023

    precipice sandstone at 2.3 Ks BS it is not that deep around here to my understanding
    what happens when you take the lid off a fizzy drink
    TheCO2 escapes what a waste, feel good plan

  27. Garrey Sellars, 04/12/2023

    DONT MESS WITH WHAT YOU CANT FIX This should not even be thought about .Poison the water and we all die
    Cant someone with the stroke of pen just can this proposal once and for all

  28. John Ambler, 04/12/2023

    Qld Government should just stop this move by Glencore instead of using regulatory processes as an excuse. Just stop it. Easy

  29. George Jones, 04/12/2023

    Stop poisoning everything! 😡

  30. Sonia Buckley, 03/12/2023

    No Way. Government must put a stop to this. What can be done to ensure that Glencore does go forward with its proposal? I’m down in Victoria how ever I would be part of any action to ensure the message that this isn’t acceptable to the people of Australia..

  31. Elaine McKiernan, 03/12/2023

    It “beggers belief” that we would in any way put at risk the viability of our underground water supply by doing such a thing. It will be too late once it is done to “Take it back”..No No No

  32. Donna Barton, 03/12/2023

    I’m not convinced that Glencore has the environment and any impact dumping waste in a delicate area set in their best interest.
    Impact statements are a decent enough way to establish the effects. But, they are not 100%. Once dumped, it’s impossible to reverse the damage. Best to leave it alone.
    You only have to look at other examples of failure to recognise the damaging impact of introducing foreign forms. Cane beetles and cane toads are just one.
    Please reconsider lesser impactful alternatives before dumping and potentially changing The Basin irreversibly and forever.
    Thank You

  33. Rob Newsham, 02/12/2023

    So much has been spent on saving the basin, capping bores, running pipe to troughs and tanks, funded by governments, landholders and businesses and then let an overseas company experiment on it? Without it, the back country is stuffed which will stuff the rest of the country with it. This can’t be allowed, get on to your councils, state and federal members, post on this page and other pages, tell everyone to. It’s our water they are messing with, no life in dust.

  34. Glenn, 02/12/2023

    Our fresh drinking water in the Great Artesian Basin is not only valuable to us but also to, cattle, pigs, chickens, plant life & everything else that resides in not only Qld but other states as well. Don’t allow Glencore a foreign owned company to come into this country & dictate what they want to do to our beloved country & then get up & leave when they are found out to be in the wrong or to have created an ecological disaster of unparalleled proportions, for the sake of a few dollars & greed by some. This is something that should not be toyed with. This is a precious resource to all Australians & the farmers & people that use it to survive. Not for mining companies or anyone for that matter to abuse & pollute.

  35. Ingrid, 02/12/2023

    Where is the petition we can sign? rather than just commenting on a blog. Many thanks – appreciate the information

    • Garrey Sellars, 04/12/2023

      how about a referendum on a subject that matters

  36. greg booker, 01/12/2023

    Water is rapidly becoming the most precious commodity on the planet and any activity that has a single iota of risk of negative impact on the GAB must not be allowed. This is a short term work around by Glencore to skirt existing rules and I have no doubt there is a substantial financial incentive for the government to approve. Do some research on the availability of fresh water on the planet and you would never risk this

  37. Delphine Bryant, 01/12/2023

    This is playing with fire; when its injected down into the aquifer and travels to and contaminates the GAB it will be too late to say sorry. NO to this idea.

  38. Marguerite Stanyer, 30/11/2023

    No. Just no. GAB is too valuable to experiment with in this way. All things in nature and environment are connected. Just No.

  39. Michael undery, 29/11/2023

    In January 2012 a protest in the Kerry valley, Scenic Rim,
    against coal seam gas exploration was unleashed onto Arrow Energy. The common issue with this protest and Glencores proposed project is how it will affect our water resources. It wasn’t anti mining or even about the gas, the focus was on keeping clean viable water and clean green food systems in the Scenic Rim. We asked Arrow, and communities affected by this proposal should ask Glencore these questions as well. #1 Do studies into how our aquifer discharges and recharges. #2 Do baseline testing on ground water for levels, capacities and the chemicals they will be pumping into the aquifer. This baseline testing will give an opportunity for compensation if in future these chemicals are showing up in the ground water. #3 The other thing we asked was to have open public meetings in a number of community halls where people could ask questions about coal seam gas mining in a comfortable and non threatening environment. Arrow energy refused our reasonable request, so we blockaded them for ten days, they left seeing they couldn’t win. There is now no mining lease ( except for gravel quaries) of any sort over the Scenic Rim, this wasn’t our goal. We were actually giving the coal seam gas industry an opportunity to do science and prove it was safe. Obviously from their actions towards our community it isn’t safe. I feel similar actions, as was done in the Kerry
    Blockade, by communities affected by Glencores proposed project would bring this company and government to negotiate positively with community and agricultural organisations.

  40. Jenny Jansen, 28/11/2023

    Never can happen.

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