Work is well advanced on a drilling programme at Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth coal mine in Australia in a pilot project that aims to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases released during mining. If successful, the A$5.5 million pilot project will provide learnings to support the reduction of Rio Tinto’s carbon footprint at Mount Thorley Warkworth and other sites. Coal seam methane gas is usually released when coal is mined, but the pilot project aims to capture and remove the gas prior to mining.Full field development of a gas drainage program could follow and, if sufficient gas can be captured, provide an additional energy or income source.Manager new developments Chris Lauritzen said the methane would be burned during the trial, with the resulting carbon dioxide having significantly less impact as a greenhouse gas than methane. “Using the current calculation methods, over half of our total greenhouse gas emissions are caused by fugative emissions (gases released from seams during mining),” he said. “Methane has 21 times the effect of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, therefore if the gas is burned or captured and utilised to generate energy, then emissions output is dramatically decreased. This has the potential to be a very powerful way of reducing emissions from our operations.”Energy company AGL and scientists from research centre CRCMining have teamed up with Rio Tinto to trial the new technology. Contractors from McDermott Drilling are drilling four wells in an area which will eventually be mined, while the CRCMining scientists will use one of the wells to trial new radial drilling techniques to drill horizontally up to 200 m from the initial well. AGL is funding the radial drilling component of the trial.The scientists hope to open up more pathways for the gas to flow, which ultimately would reduce the number of wells required to extract coal seam methane gas. The drilling program is expected to be completed this month, and design of the surface gas and water management facilities is well underway. Operation of the wells and data collection will continue through 2009.
Trafficked worker in Ireland: I was threatened, confined and treated as a slave>Victims of human trafficking gang rescued from Belfast brothels> 2009 – 66 people2010 – 78 people2011 – 57 people They say they want the government to:Appoint an anti-trafficking Tsar to ensure greater sharing of information and a co-ordinated approach across Government departments, agencies, the Gardaí and the non-governmental sector.Improve the reporting of this crime and the identification of victims.Provide safe and secure accommodation for those who have been identified.Target the demand for sex-trafficking by implementing the unanimous recommendations of the Oireachtas Justice Committee for laws against sex buyers.Anti Trafficking Coordinator with the Immigrant Council, Nusha Yonkova added: It is now clear that Ireland’s response to one of the biggest crimes in Europe is not good enough and that urgent action is needed.This report not only identifies shortfalls in the law but also highlights failures to provide proper accommodation and safeguards to victims. The report states that 66 per cent victims were adult women, while 24 per cent were children and 10 per cent were men. The main type of exploitation reported during the period 2009-2011, both for adults and children, was sexual exploitation.The review states that preliminary data for 2012, identified 48 human trafficking victims. 31 were female and 23 were children.Sexual exploitationAs regards the forms of exploitation, 39 of the alleged victims were subjected to sexual exploitation and six to labour exploitation. Three cases were found to be cases of illegal immigration.Speaking about the review today Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter said he thought the report was “generally positive” in relation to Ireland and said he will carefully consider the insights of expert report.He said he thought there had been much done “in a relatively short period of time” in relation to human trafficking. He said there was “much to be learned from independent evaluations”.He added that the government “will carefully consider the insights of the group of experts in relation to our approach”.‘Wake-up call’The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the shortfalls highlighted must be acted upon, stating that the report is a “wake up call”.Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said: This report flies in the face of those vested interests in the sex ‘trade’ who have been trying to claim that human trafficking for sexual exploitation does not exist in Ireland. AN EXPERT REVIEW group has been critical of how Ireland is tackling human trafficking.The review into the state’s compliance with the anti-trafficking convention was conducted by an expert committee from the Council of Europe, who stated that the number of prosecutions and convictions for human trafficking is still “very low” and the length of the criminal proceedings is “also a manner of concern”.They urged the Irish authorities to take additional measures to ensure that human trafficking offences are investigated and prosecuted effectively, which they say would lead to “proportionate and dissuasive sanctions”.IntimidationThey also said that more could be done to ensure that victims of human trafficking are not subject to intimidation, either before or after a court case.The group said that new immigration legislation had been delayed since 2008, but said that it was promised this year that new legislation would be introduced. They wanted to stress to government that new legislation relating to immigration, asylum and human trafficking should be implemented as soon as possible.Having looked at Ireland’s human trafficking situation the said that Ireland is primarily a country of destination for victims of trafficking, rather than a country of transit.FiguresBetween 2009-2011, more than 200 possible victims of human trafficking were identified in Ireland.The figures, supplied to the expert group by the gardaí, give the following breakdown of human trafficking victims: