Altona Energy has announced a two year extension of the Arckaringa exploration licenses (EL's) until 6 June 2015. The South Australian government, through the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, has granted the extension following a successful renewal application submitted in May.
The Arckaringa project is Altona Energy’s flagship project. It aims to exploit the coal resources contained in three exploration licences covering 2500 sq. km in the northern portion of the Permian Arckaringa Basin in south Australia. The project is designed to include a modern, combined-cycle power station adding 560 MW to the national grid and to produce clean burning fuel for Australia and the world.
The renewal application was submitted by the Arckaringa JV partners: CNOOC NEIA (51% holder in each of the EL's) and Altona's subsidiary Arckaringa Energy (49%). The two-year extension and full area coverage is the most that the government can grant under the maximum 5 year term for Mineral EL's.
The government confirmed that all the conditions required to justify a two year extension have been met. These requirements included the fulfillment of statutory reporting obligations, exceeding the minimum combined expenditure threshold for the EL's of AUS$ 2.07 million (AUS$ 0.69 million annually in each of the 3 years to date), while also presenting a future work programme and budget, which will continue to exceed statutory requirements and will be invested by CNOOC NEIA as part of its bankable feasibility study (BFS) funding commitment.
Altona's Managing Director, Chris Schrape, commented, that "the full two year renewal of the three tenements not only enables the joint venture partners to move forward with confidence on the Arckaringa Project BFS but also indicates the importance that the South Australian government attaches to the project and the Arckaringa energy resources for future state development."
The work programme and budget discussed with the government aims to establish the design parameters for the initial box cut and mine plan for the Wintinna deposit, underpin the environmental impact assessment – including groundwater management and define the coal quality profile for coal conversion options. It includes the following key technical works during the extension period:
- Engagement of exploration consultants (China).
- Engagement of a drilling services provider for the forthcoming drilling programme (Australia).
- Drilling work preparation (mobilisation, topography surveys, hydrogeology survey, field construction, environmental management controls, rehabilitation plans).
- Field drilling (an initial 7 boreholes, including two large diameter holes for groundwater pump testing and coal core).
- Testing and analysis (coal bulk sample and core testing and analysis, core transportation and storage, hydrogeological model update).
- Resource estimation in accordance with JORC (2012) guidelines.
- Groundwater disposal and utilisation studies.
- Environmental impact assessment.
Decisions on additional work and expenditure during the next two years will depend on the results of this scheduled work programme, particularly the drilling programme and associated testing and analysis.
Mr Schrape commented further that: "CNOOC NEIA has committed significant funding specifically for the upcoming work programme, which will not only advance the BFS on several technical fronts but also increase the momentum behind the project".
Adapted from press release by Samuel Dodson
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/04062013/altona_energy_arckaringa_project_granted_two_year_extension_213/