Misinformation from Apex

Chris Lawrence statement

Please explain.

The Illawarra Mercury ran a story on 3rd December about the local CSG project, essentially allowing Apex Energy to pitch themselves as being on the receiving end of a ‘rough deal’ thanks to ‘misinformation’ from groups such as Stop CSG Illawarra.

On the subject of misinformation, we would like to understand why Chris Lawrence, corporate development manager of Apex Energy, told the Illawarra Mercury that for the Illawarra coal seam gas project: “there is no aquifer to poison” and “the water doesn’t migrate horizontally”.

Both of these statements are false.

In the Southern Coalfields there are four sandstone aquifers above the top coal seam.1

The top – or Hawkesbury Sandstone – aquifer feeds drinking water supplies for the Northern Illawarra and South Sydney, as it feeds the Woronora Reservoir.

Chris Lawrence

Chris Lawrence speaking at the CSG Community Forum in August 2011

Prior to the drought breaking in NSW, sections of the Hawkesbury Sandstone aquifer system were also investigated for their ability to supply fresh water.2 This is a concern for the Illawarra, as the industry has admitted CSG mining damages aquifers. It is also recognised that groundwater flows above the Illawarra Coal Measures are mainly horizontal.3

Apex often states publicly that campaigners against CSG make emotive and exaggerated claims. Yet they continue to make statements that misinform the general public. The community is raising legitimate concerns that deserve accurate answers. And unlike the industry we don’t have a financial interest behind what we do and say.

Stop CSG Illawarra campaigns for a royal commission to uncover the facts about the industry, so that communities can make an informed decision. We cannot understand why the industry would not support this, if they are confident CSG mining can happen safely.

[1] Impacts of Underground Coal Mining on Natural Features in the Southern Coalfield – Strategic Review, NSW Department of Planning, July 2008

[2] Groundwater resource investigations for Sydney’s water supply at Leonay, Western Sydney, NSW, Hawkes Parsons Brinckerhoff and Ross for the Sydney Catchment Authority, December 2008.

[3] Dendrobium Area 3: Predicted Hydrogeologic Performance, GHD Geotechnics for BHP Billiton, Illawarra Coal, November 2007


In a subsequent Mercury article, Chris Lawrence makes the claim he was taken out of context…

Illawarra Mercury article

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