Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the charges followed a detailed nine- month investigation in relation to the pilot plant.
“UCG is a very different process to that used to extract coal seam gas (CSG). It involves converting coal to a synthesised (or non-natural) gas via enforced combustion,” Mr Powell said.
“As a result of this ongoing investigation, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has now filed charges against Linc Energy for causing serious environmental harm.”
“While the harm allegedly caused to the environment is considered serious, the information available to the department suggests there is no immediate risk to neighbouring landholder water bores.
“The department is continuing its formal investigation into the activities of Linc Energy Limited.”
“We take matters such as these very seriously and there are severe penalties for companies or individuals that fail to meet our high environmental standards.
“The Queensland Government encourages emerging industries to develop, however they must comply with the state’s strong environmental laws.”
The two UCG technology pilot trials in Queensland are both entering a decommissioning phase.
A report by an Independent Scientific Panel, appointed to assist the government assess the technical and environmental aspects of the UCG technology, is available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au
Linc Energy is yet to comment on the matter.