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Monday, 5 June 1939

Mr Mulcahy (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) y asked the Minister for Supply and Development, upon notice -

1.   Has he received correspondence from representatives of a company which is desirous of erecting a plant to secure oil from coal in the Camden area in New South Wales?

2.   If bo, does tlie Government propose to take any action in regard to this proposition?

Mr Casey (CORIO, VICTORIA) (Minister for Supply and Development) - Representations have been made by Associated Motor Transport, of New South Wales, and Mr. C. Kemp, of Ocean House, Sydney, with a view to securing Commonwealth assistance in connexion with the granting of a Crown coal lease in the Burragorang Valley, New South Wales. These interests intimated that it was intended, if the lease were granted to produce oil from coal, and it is understood that the low temperature carbonization process would be employed for that purpose. As mining, except within the territories controlled by tile Commonwealth, is a State function, the Premier of New South Wales was approached in this matter. The Premier stated that 'the main products to be derived from the lease would be coal, or coke which would displace coal, and as the policy of his Government was not to grant further Crown leases to mine for coal, the application made by Associated Motor Transport could not be approved. This information was conveyed to the interests mentioned and they were told that the Commonwealth Hydrogenation Committee, a body comprising technical experts of the Commonwealth and the States, reported in 1937, " that there is little hope of the low temperature carbonization process proving of real practical value in the provision of Australia's requirements of oil on a large scale unless a huge market for ' semicoke the prime product,- can be found."

This view was recently endorsed by the Commonwealth Standing Committee on Liquid Fuels, which stated -

In the opinion of your committee the production of oil from coal by. low temperature carbonization is unattractive. The quantities of petrol likely to be derived by this process are small, while without greater density of population no sufficient market can be found for the prime product of the process - smokeless fuel - to admit of large-scale operations.

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