South Australia's peak resources group says opposition to oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight has been fuelled by misleading information online.
Public fear over oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight has been influenced by misleading information online that "grossly" misrepresents the risk and consequences of an oil spill, South Australia's peak mining group says.
The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy has praised Norwegian energy producer Equinor for its level of public engagement over its plans for a deepwater exploration oil well 400 kilometres offshore from Ceduna.
The company has demonstrated a level of transparency and dedication to community consultation that has spread across SA regional communities and involved more than 150 meetings with local South Australians, SACOME chief executive Rebecca Knol said.
Equinor is currently reviewing the 30,000 submissions made on its draft environmental plan.
"It is apparent from the commentary that many public responses were influenced by material circulating online which grossly misrepresented both the risks and consequences of a major oil spill," Ms Knol said at the Paydirt Resources and Energy Investment Conference in Adelaide.
"This misleading information has generated expressions of genuine fear and concern in many of the submissions when the public debate should be entrenched in a higher standard of factual and balanced information."
The SACOME boss was also critical of Australian mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest who recently opposed drilling in the Bight, declaring Equinor's plans an unacceptable risk to an irreplaceable ecosystem.
Ms Knol said Mr Forrest's comments were an example of "industry cannibalism born out of deep commercial competitiveness".
"Like a developer desperate to attract investment, such commentary does not consider the whole of industry ramifications," she said.
On the resources sector more generally, Ms Knol said it had always contended with the "dirty and dangerous tagline".
"But since the birth of social media, fake news and the rise of environmental activism, the perception of our industry has plummeted," she said.
"Public perception, however inaccurate, is damaging to our sector."
Such negativity could spread quickly and trust, when lost in a community, was almost impossible to regain, Ms Knol said.
"Today, our politicians are making decisions based on community sentiment largely fuelled by social media, fake news and misinformation."