Glencore Embroiled In Legal Battle With Farmers Over CCS Project In Australia

Glencore Embroiled In Legal Battle With Farmers Over CCS Project In Australia - Carbon Herald

Australian farmers have initiated legal proceedings against mining major Glencore (LON: GLEN) over its carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative, which they fear could contaminate a significant underground water reservoir in Australia.

The project, backed by Glencore’s wholly-owned subsidiary Carbon Transport and Storage Corporation (CTSCo), involves injecting food-grade carbon dioxide (CO2), akin to that in soft drinks, into depths surpassing 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from a coal power plant.

Despite the project having secured government approval in 2022 and endorsement from independent research bodies, Queensland-based group AgForce, representing numerous farmers, has lodged a legal challenge in a Brisbane federal court, citing concerns over potential harm to the reservoir vital for their agricultural activities.

AgForce president Georgie Somerset emphasized the irreplaceable value of water for farming and food security, expressing bewilderment at jeopardizing such a crucial resource.

The dispute, underscoring the clash between environmental preservation and climate change mitigation efforts, could resonate globally, particularly in regions like Canada and the United States grappling with similar challenges, industry news source Mining.com said.

Relevant: Australia Awards Glencore $25M For Its Carbon Capture Project

Glencore asserts that the targeted aquifer, situated beneath its coal plant in Queensland, already contains non-potable water due to elevated fluoride levels, thus minimizing the risk to nearby agricultural operations.

Furthermore, Glencore aims to slash CO2 equivalent emissions from its industrial assets by 25% by 2030 through initiatives like CTSCo in Queensland.

However, the proposed injection site lies within the Great Artesian Basin, a vast underground freshwater reserve crucial for sustaining agriculture and communities across Queensland and Northern Territory.

Concerns raised by farmers and industry representatives highlight the absence of comprehensive governmental policies addressing the potential hazards associated with such projects.

While farmers argue that CO2 injection could trigger the release of harmful toxins from underground rocks, Glencore refutes these claims, citing assessments indicating minimal and localized impacts outlined in the project’s environmental impact statement.

As the legal battle unfolds, it underscores the complexities surrounding balancing industrial imperatives with environmental and agricultural sustainability.

Read more: Alberta First Nations Voice Concerns Over Carbon Storage Plans

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