28 Aug 2011

Mining billionaire warns of coal seam gas dangers

11:11 am on 28 August 2011

Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer has launched a scathing attack on Australia's coal seam gas industry, saying the technology is unproven and could have a devastating environmental impact.

The ABC reports that concerns have been raised about the impact of the industry on water sources and its inability to find a permanent solution for waste disposal.

A Senate inquiry is examining the economic, social and environmental impacts of coal seam gas.

Speaking to the National Party's Federal Council, Mr Palmer said a leading Chinese firm had raised issues with him about the Australian industry and had told him extraction techniques they abandoned 20 years ago are still being used in Australia.

The Queensland mining billionaire told the crowd that his Chinese counterparts had delivered a stern warning.

"Coal seam gas technology currently used in Australia is lethal and will kill Australians, poison our water table and destroy the land," he said.

Speaking to the ABC after making his address, Mr Palmer said international firms are worried that companies undertaking exploration in Australia do not have sufficient expertise.

Mr Palmer did not elaborate on what the specific issues were with the technology, saying he was not not a technical expert.

One controversial technique is hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, which involves the injection of chemicals, sand and water to crack rock and release the gas.