The Collie open-cut mine near Bunbury in Western Australia has been chosen as the site for the state’s first on-shore carbon capture and storage facility.

The Collie Hub would capture six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted from industry in the South West each year and store it underground.

Project co-ordinator, Dominique Van Gent, says that initial studies have been completed and now more extensive research involving local industry needs to be undertaken. He says if all goes to plan, the facility could be trialed in the region as early as 2014.

“Potentially, we are looking at a reduction of one third of the carbon emissions in the South-West area, and that represents about 10 percent of what’s produced in the state, so it is a significant reduction in its own right,” he said.

According to the Environmental Protection Authority, the South West town of Collie is currently at risk of exceeding national air pollution standards. There are concerns for water quality in the area and regular complaints from residents who claim emissions from industry are affecting their health.

Companies operating in the region, including Verve Energy, The Griffin Group, Wesfarmers Premier Coal, BHP Billiton, Worsley Alumina, Alcoa and Perdaman Chemicals and Fertilisers, have helped to fund the project.