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Advanced coal projects short of funding milestones

World Coal,

Three brown coal projects in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley are yet to reach milestones to attract promised government funding.

The ‘advanced coal’ projects were last year promised US$75 million in state and federal government funding, including US$30 million to Coal Energy Australia as part of a project to refine brown coal for making steel, fertiliser, and soil conditioner.

Ignite Energy was promised US$20 million in funding for a project to process brown coal into synthetic crude oil, other high-quality oils and coals that can be used in the production of steel.

Finally, Shanghai Electric Australia Power and Energy Development, was promised US$25 million to turn brown coal into briquettes for export to China and possible local use, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Fairfax Media has reported that Coal Energy Australia has delayed the start of construction on its demonstration plan from early 2015 to September, although a spokeswoman said the project was still on track to be commercially operational by 2017.

She said the company’s products were likely to be shipped from Port Anthony, in Gippsland, without it requiring an upgrade. The spokeswoman said an estimated 24 trucks a day would be transiting between the site and the port in Corner Inlet.

A spokesman for Ignite Energy said the company was finalising co-funding from a strategic partner and was in the process of completing the permit stage with the Victorian government and was on track to be on-site and commencing site preparation in the third quarter 2015.

A spokesman for Shanghai Electric Power and Energy Development said the company was completing its final development study. “Once this plan has been completed the company looks forward to completing the next steps in the development process, including submitting and releasing a more detailed planning application which will be shared with both the state government and local council and through that process to the broader public”, he said.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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