The new Mining and Energy Minister of South Australia has left his own constituency of Stuart dumbfounded by the recent approval of the controversial Leigh Creek Energy Project in the Flinders Ranges. They are doubly confounded according to a recent media release by the William Light Foundation which reveals the Minister is reassuring his constituency that he has not actually approved the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) proposal.
Open letter to the media:
Your left hand does not appear to know what the right hand is doing.
This can be shown by your various responses to community members who have demanded answers and follow up to commitments These responses show that you do not have a grip on the issues or the gravity of the concerns being expressed:
“It is also important to know that no mine has not been approved. What has been approved are the conditions that the company would have to meet in order to develop the proposed pilot plant. The company is now at the stage of trying to demonstrate how operationally it would meet those conditions. Public consultation is still being received and you are very welcome to put a submission for consideration.”
“While I engage directly as local MP with people with a wide range of interests, as Minister the decisions I make are guided by advice and recommendations from the relevant departments (Environment and Water, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Energy and Mining, etc) as well as my own knowledge. Please make submissions to the departments best connected to your concerns so they can be fully assessed.”
“ I want to let you know myself that my Dept has approved Leigh Creek Energy’s Statement of Environmental Objective (SEO) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed pilot plant. This does not give them permission to start the pilot plant, but agrees to the conditions they would have to meet to be able to proceed. There will now be another round of consultation re potential Aboriginal heritage, community and environmental impact. ” 19.4.2018
“I have not given any more Leigh Creek Energy approvals. I am aware of a standard access permissions which has been granted by my department so the company has the opportunity to develop a proposal for assessment.”
“I did seek the advice from the previous email and I’ll follow up to get it.”
Your comments are clearly nonsense, as the project has commenced:
1. PCD Aboveground plant construction (APPROVED);
2. PCD Process well drilling; and
3. PCD Operations including operating, decommissioning and monitoring.
LCK and its contractors are scheduled to commence on site assembly and commissioning of PCD modules and supporting services and equipment next week. This is expected to take approximately 8 weeks. During this stage of the PCD, personnel will be in a range of accommodation in Leigh Creek and Copley, and at the on-site camp that will exist for the brief construction period.
In conjunction with this activity, three process wells will be drilled to service the underground ISG chamber, on approval of the PCD Process well drilling AN. This activity is projected to last for 25 days.
Minister Pellekaan, information now obtained from the Queensland Government shows that the SA Government does not have access to anything but high level information already available to the public. The information from the all important secret Gilbert & Sutherland Report into the Linc Energy mishaps is not available to anyone while the Linc Energy criminal wilful negligence trials continue. This was one of the basic commitments made to the communities and now this is demonstrated as well to be a folly.
Minister, you are treading on dangerous grounds and placing the environment and the communities of the Flinders Ranges at great risk, and you have demonstrated clearly that you are not receiving relevant and important advice, or if you are you are not sharing this advice as promised with the concerned communities.
This project is dangerous, the process has been demonstrated as flawed, and this is ample grounds for the application process to stop permanently.
Chair – William Light Foundation
Image (modified) sourced from Solstice media