A Brisbane court ordered Linc Energy to pay a record fine of $4.5 Million for the "ecological vandalism" at its underground coal gasification plant at Chinchilla between 2007 and 2013.

In passing sentence, the court noted how Linc attempted to cover-up widespread well failures, gas bubbling, and contamination of the local air, soil, and water by toxic gasses.

"Linc was well aware of the damage being done," said Judge Michael Shanahan, "and attempted to hide it from the regulator."

Campaigners hope the record fine will send a "strong message" to other mining companies operating in Queensland.

"However, we're deeply concerned about Linc Energy's ability to pay the $4.5 million penalty, given they are currently in liquidation," said Vicki Perrin of the Lock The Gate alliance. 

If the company does not pay, Lock The Gate is urging the Queensland government to pursue the Linc executives who made the decisions that led to the environmental damage through "chain of responsibility" laws, which states such fines can be enforced against "related persons" of financially-troubled companies.  This ensures that communities are not left holding the bag.

"Ultimately, it is local landholders and the environment that has been damaged by this sorry saga," said Ms. Perrin.