Australia is likely to instate a ban on mining for shale under the Great Barrier Reef, according to United Press International. The decision to consider banning mining under the reef comes after Queensland recently lifted a moratorium on shale activities in most areas along the coast.
There are some possible shale oil deposits located under and near the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site. Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said allowing shale mining would go against world heritage management principles.
"World Heritage principles on mineral extraction are absolutely clear," said Burke. "You can't extract minerals or oil from underneath the Great Barrier Reef. Simple as that."
Tensions in the country have recently risen over the environmental impact of Australia's oil and gas boom, The Guardian reported.
Tony Burke also said the government may use federal powers over the management of World Heritage Sites to stop the shale industry if companies continue to extend their mines out under the reef.
Unesco's World Heritage Committee warned of the likeliness of the ban last year after it decided whether or not it to include the coral reef on an endangered list due to oil and gas exploration's impact on the area.