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Plan to mine shale oil divides Qld

Queensland's economy could receive a boost from the scrapping of another mining ban, but conservationists say it will come at a cost.

The Newman government announced on Wednesday it will overturn Labor's 20-year moratorium on the mining of oil shale, imposed in 2008.

Queensland has about 90 per cent of the nation's oil shale reserves (22 billion barrels), which the government hopes to turn into mining royalties and thousands of jobs.

The premier says opening up oil shale mining will also boost the nation's flagging oil reserves.

"I do accept the criticism about this energy intensiveness, but at the end of the day we are running out of oil," Premier Campbell Newman told the ABC.

He added he doesn't expect the controversial process of fracking to be used as it was in the US.

Miners have predictably welcomed the announcement, but environmentalists warn shale oil mining is the "dirtiest" form of extraction around; more polluting than brown coal and coal seam gas.

The government has promised strict environmental controls, including trials to assess the environmental effects of unproven technologies.

Its policy change means a Queensland Energy Resources trial plant at Gladstone, that's been running for some years, can move to a full commercial operation.

However, one sprawling resource will remain off limits until at least 2028 amid environmental concerns.

A moratorium imposed by the former government on the McFarlane deposit, near Proserpine in the Whitsundays, will stay due to its proximity to the reef and wetlands.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) government last year also dumped Queensland's longstanding ban on uranium mining.

Mr Newman shrugged off being compared to former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who was the last state leader to allow oil shale mining.

"I'm my own man," he said, listing his environmental achievements including planting two million trees in his final years as Brisbane's lord mayor.

He said development was necessary, but it would not be at the expense of the environment.