overview of possible impacts from coal seam gas
development in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
Project by Elfian Schieren, 2012
5. Other consequences of coal seam gas development
Along with potential impacts to water resources coal seam gas
development can also create risks to agricultural lands, public and animal
health and seismic stability.
5.1 Impacts to agricultural production
Water underpins all agricultural production and is likely the
major concern in possible CSG impacts to farming.
However, CSG infrastructure can also use up large areas of
land despite claims to be minimal in its surface impact.
Figure 4 shows an aerial view of CSG development in Chinchilla
revealing the vast network of roads and well sites. There are two kinds of
wells, exploration and production wells.
Exploration wells are generally spaced one well per 30 to 60
km2 and production wells are typically spaced 600m – 1200m or more (Queensland
Each well is surrounded by a 75 x 75m up to one hectare
clearing to allow for the movement of drilling vehicles and for protection from
possible bush or grass fires. Sites may also be fenced for safety and as a
barrier to livestock (APPEA, 2012).
This means that for every square kilometre of land or 100ha
property there is a possibility for 5 well sites equalling 28125m2 up to
approximately five hectares plus road surface area, that may be unavailable for
agriculture during the life of the well and for sometime after the well has been
One NSW standard for rural collector roads describing non
arterial roads that collect and distribute traffic in an area as well as
abutting property calls for a 23m wide road reserve (Young Shire Council, 2010).
Based on these dimensions it can be estimated that for
approximately 6km of road accessing five wells sites on a 100ha property there
may be 150 000m2 of exposed road surface on top of well site areas.
Exposed soil is vulnerable to erosion (Morgan, 1995) and the
CSG network of roads combined with well sites creates a considerable area of
There is also a possibility that CSG development can disturb
contaminated land causing potential environmental damage from the mobilisation
of contaminants (Arrow Energy, 2012).
Anecdotal evidence suggests other types of disturbance may be
caused by CSG development on farmland.
One QLD farmer has now chained and padlocked his gate to the
mining company working on his land after he found several of his heifers choking
on plastic rubbish left by the company.
The farmer has reported major interruptions to usual livestock
and farm operations because of the pipeline and gates left open by
They have also found and had to remove used toilet paper and
faeces from their paddocks left by the subcontract workers (Rowling, 2012a).
Another QLD farmer is risking her entire farming future by
selling her breed stock to raise money to sue the mining company on her land for
breach of contract.
She has been unable to earn her income caused by
inaccessibility from the pipeline dividing her land in half and believes she has
not been properly compensated (Rowling, 2012b).
Queensland | Western Australia |
South Australia |