South Australia’s peak environment body has asked the ASIC to investigate whether fossil fuel company NeuRizer has misled or deceived investors and consumers about the climate impacts of its proposed urea fertiliser plant at the mothballed Leigh Creek coal mine. [1] 

NeuRizer is proposing to operate an underground coal gasification (UCG) facility and fertiliser factory on the site of an open-cut coal mine that was decommissioned in 2015.   

The company (formerly known as Leigh Creek Energy) claims on its website and in its 2022 Climate Related Financial Disclosure Report the fertiliser it would produce would be “carbon neutral”. [2] 

The Conservation Council of South Australia (CCSA) through its lawyer, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), has asked the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to determine there has been a breach of the Corporations Act 2001 and or the Australian Consumer Law

CCSA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins said: “South Australia has a wonderful story to tell as a global leader in the transition to clean, renewable energy.  The last thing we need is a new dirty coal project based on highly risky technology banned in many other states and countries. 

When this project was first shopped around, the company doing the spruiking admitted it would be a carbon bomb.  Now a few years on, as public climate concern has grown, their PR spin has changed without them revealing any evidence that their huge carbon impact will be any less than originally planned.” 

“There is no room in our state for any new industrial projects with large carbon and methane impacts. And there’s no room for companies that make over-blown carbon neutral promises without a skerrick of proof.” 

EDO Managing Lawyer Kirsty Ruddock said: “When a company makes false claims about its climate credentials, it gains a competitive advantage by misleading investors and customers who want to do the right thing, and seeking to produce fertiliser with renewable energy 

“ASIC announced last June it was cracking down on greenwashing and last month reported it had intervened in 35 instances. It has commenced civil proceedings against one company and issued  11 infringement notices. A further 23 representations were withdrawn with corrective public statements. [4] 

“We believe the complaint lodged by CCSA aligns closely with the ASIC’s desire to ensure companies adhere to certain standards when making claims about their environmental performance and impact.” 


[1] ASIC complaint: Conservation Council of South Australia and NeuRizer, 6 June 2023.  

[2] See pp1-2 of the complaint.   

[3] Underground coal gasification now prohibited in Queensland, Qld Natural Resources and Mines Minister, 25-08-17. 

[4] Update on ASIC’s recent greenwashing actions, ASIC media release, 10-5-23. 


ASIC complaint: Conservation Council of South Australia and NeuRizer, June 2023. 


EDO | Managing Lawyer Kirsty Ruddock  

CCSA Chief Executive | Craig Wilkins  


EDO | James Tremain | 0419 272 254 | [email protected]    

CCSA | Kate Sutcliffe | 0430 494 211 | [email protected]