Tom Hedderson, Newfoundland and Labrador's environment minister, says any plans to use fracking in land-based oil exploration on Newfoundland's west coast would have to go through the environmental assessment process.

Hedderson said his department is aware that Shoal Point Energy wants to use hydraulic fracturing at Shoal Point on the Port au Port Peninsula.

The process involves injecting sand, water and chemicals deep into the ground.

Hedderson said officials have talked to Shoal Point Energy, but the company has not formally submitted a proposal.

He says when it does, the department will look at everything that's involved in fracking, including the use of chemicals.

"Once it's registered for environmental assessment, and especially if it's pertaining to a procedure like fracking, that there are a number of factors that have to be taken into account. And of course the big concern is the ground water."

Shoal Point Energy has also said it wants to use fracking at a site in Sally's Cove on the Northern Peninsula, but Hedderson said the company hasn't filed that project for environmental assessment either.

Shoal Point Energy has also proposed doing exploratory fracking at Lark Harbour.