West Australian Premier Colin Barnett stated that the territory’s proposed coal-seam natural gas mining will be one of Australia’s biggest environmental potential threats and supported the necessity of mining companies to respect the rights of farmers.
Barnett said "The situation in Queensland is where the extraction of tight gas does have a significant impact visually and some very complex and risky environmental impacts on water tables. I think it will probably be one of the big environmental issues facing Australia," The Australian newspaper reported.
Barnett added that mining companies should respect farmers’ rights and that in Queensland its farmers had the right to veto mining on their land, noting, "In Western Australia, freehold property owners do have a veto over mining; that's been in place a long time. Generally you get negotiated outcomes between mining companies and farmers. Or, in some cases, if there's a resources deposit, often the mining companies simply buy the land and work around it. You're talking about a sophisticated mining industry and part of that sophistication means dealing with landowners in a sensible way. It will be an issue, but I'm sure there will be some resolution."
Over the last decade Australia has emerged as an energy powerhouse for East Asian economies; each month Australian iron ore and coal exports bring in more than $8.3 billion, primarily going to feed China’s ravenous steel mills and furnaces.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com