Work begins to cap burning well

QUEENSLAND'S Mines Minister has directed his department to search high and low for hazardous mining sites following the discovery of a fire burning in an old drilling hole in the Darling Downs.

A one metre high flame has been burning at an old mining site at Daandine, north west of Dalby, since Saturday.

The fire is fuelled by leaking methane gas.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said work to cap the burning well already had begun and he had ordered his staff to identify any other hazards in the process.

"I can report, weather permitting, that work will begin immediately to extinguish a slow burning fire in a abandoned exploration drill hole north west of Dalby," he said in parliament on Wednesday.

"In the longer term, I have directed my department to review its records to determine whether there are other sites that may require similar remedial works.

"But our main focus remains firmly on removing any risks to public health and safety at this site."

Following a meeting with the Natural Resources and Mines Department and local resources officers on Tuesday, Mr Cripps said experts would extinguish the flame, remediate the site and seal it off.

Heavy machinery is scheduled to be moved on to the site to drill out the hole by the end of the week.

Mr Cripps took a swipe at coal seam gas opponents who have slammed the government's approach to the problem following the fire's discovery.

He claimed the efforts of his department and other resources personnel had been anything but "absurd and irresponsible" and assured residents the remediation of the site was a high priority.