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QER claims success with oil shale tests

Queensland Energy Resources operations manager Chris Anderson, Environment Minister Andrew Powell, Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps and QER operations superintendent Ray Pascoe at QER's demonstration plant.
Queensland Energy Resources operations manager Chris Anderson, Environment Minister Andrew Powell, Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps and QER operations superintendent Ray Pascoe at QER's demonstration plant.

QUEENSLAND Energy Resources is claiming success for its test oil shale plant in Gladstone, but environmental advocates are vowing to keep up the fight against the emerging industry.

An Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman has labelled oil shale as an out-of-date technology, which "should be left in the 1980s with bad music and bad hair".

Earlier this week, QER announced its plant would be mothballed with 50 workers losing their jobs as the company sought investors to develop a commercial version.

The demonstration ran from October 2011 until this week, with QER producing diesel and aviation fuel for testing.

QER were keenly affected by policy restrictions put in place by the former Queensland Labor Government in 2008.

This included a 20-year moratorium on extracting oil shale from the Macfarlane deposit on the coastline of the Whitsundays, an area under exploration from QER at the time.

There was also a blanket ban on oil shale development until after QER's Gladstone project produced results, although this was watered down to approval on a case-by-case basis earlier this year by Mines Minister Andrew Cripps.

The resources industry peak body - the Queensland Resources Council - believes QER's results speak for themselves and the industry should now be given the chance to blossom.

ACF climate change manager Tony Mohr said oil shale development was a "very, very greenhouse gas intensive" way of making fuel and would likely affect landholders.

"I think (oil shale) is at least as contentious as coal seam gas," he said.

"Different landholders are affected by different types of mining.

"The multiplicity of impacts means there is more environment that will be affected."

In a statement, QER pointed to a four-year Queensland Government review which described its environmental record as "exemplary".

Topics:  australian conservation foundation environment gladstone oil shale qer



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