Linc Energy has denied responsibility for an underground fire last week at its plant in Chinchilla, which is located near two private properties.
The company said their underground coal gasification plant hasn’t been in operation since 2013, though soil samples from the nearby properties still tested positive for carbon monoxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide just last week.
The plant would usually practice igniting the coal seam, pumping oxygen into a chamber to allow for the combustion of the coal, which then produces gas.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection director-general Jon Black dismissed concerns about threats to human health, saying the gases were not linked to the extensive coal seam gas operations in the area, though he also said the types of gases indicated combustion.
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said he thought the combustion was an uncontrolled fire burning on the coal seam that had likely been caused by Linc Energy’s plant.
A Linc Energy spokesperson said there was it was impossible that the burn came from their plant due its status as non-operational.
“It is currently in decommissioning and rehabilitation phase,” they said.
Mr Hutton said the government must immediately halt all CSG and UCG exploration until it can determine the extent and cause of the fire, and seek the help of an expert in the field.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters called for UCG, in addition to new coal and all unconventional gas mining, to stop.
“We have viable renewable alternatives that won’t cost us our land, water, climate and regional communities,” Senator Waters said.