Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 176 conventional petroleum industry in the Lake Eyre Basin, the Cooper–Eromanga Basin (Figs 19.1 and 19.2) continues to be a strategic national resource, making up ~12% of Australia’s crude oil resources and represents almost one-fifth of Australian annual production (Table 19.1). Production of conventional gas is still relatively minor, compared to national production (under 2% Table 19.1), but it remains a critical supply for the eastern gas market (~14.3%). There were no formally reported reserves of unconventional gas (CSG, shale gas and tight gas) in 2013 in the Lake Eyre Basin (specifically the Galilee, Cooper, Pedirka and Arckaringa Basins), but exploration licences are extensive across South Australia and Queensland (Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines 2015 Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines 2017). There is little coal production, apart from Leigh Creek field, north of Port Augusta in South Australia, just outside the Lake Eyre Basin, which closed in late 2015, but giant projects are under various stages of development in the Arckaringa, Galilee and Pedirka Basins. The Galilee Basin projects are the most advanced, such as Alpha and Kevin’s Corner by the GVK Hancock Coal partnership led by Gina Rinehart, China First/Galilee led by Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal, and Carmichael led by India’s Adani Mining Group. These massive projects will dwarf existing mines in the Bowen Basin or Hunter Valley if they proceed. One mine could potentially produce up to 60 Mt coal per year (e.g. the Alpha open pits will reach up to 6 km wide by ~24 km long, with about an equal area for infrastructure, tailings dams and overburden dumps). Mines also produce metals in and around the Lake Eyre Basin, with the Mount Isa and Stuart Shelf (central South Australia) regions accounting for half of Australia’s annual Fig. 19.2. Typical oil and gas production facility in the Cooper–Eromanga Basin of the Lake Eyre Basin, south of Innamincka (photo, R.T. Kingsford).
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