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Gas construction cargo blamed for Gladstone fire ants

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An outbreak of fire ants in Gladstone has been blamed on construction cargo offloaded from gas industry ships.

Biosecurity Queensland has spent more than $3.2 million on trying to eradicate fire ants from the area, which includes Curtis Island.

Program director Mike Ashton told the ABC that the ants were probably shipped into Gladstone with construction cargo for the gas plants on Curtis Island.

The gas plants, QCLNG, APLNG and GLNG are currently under construction by American contractor Bechtel, the largest privately-owned contracting company in the world.

The ants, which were discovered at Fisherman’s Landing six months ago, have been genetically analysed to determine their origin.

“We believe they've come from the southern United States,” Ashton said.

“We've done genetic analysis of the fire ants in Yarwun and we believe we can trace them back to somewhere... in the southern US.

“Probably in some equipment that's been brought in as part of the construction of the LNG plants.”

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