Greenpower required to drill

The company moving to drill for coal near Yarragon has revealed it is pushing ahead with prospecting to satisfy State Government expenditure requirements placed on exploration licence holders.

Emerging brown coal technology developer Greenpower made Gippsland headlines recently when it emerged the company would be conducting core sample drilling on a Yarragon property.

Moving to allay concerns of the local community, Greenpower chief executive John Watts said it would be years before the company would be interested in exploiting the resource, stating the drilling activity was designed to fulfil requirements placed on licence holders by the Department of State Development Business and Innovation.

“For us to maintain the our (exploration) licences on those established resources, we have to commit to spending a set amount of annual expenditure in each tenement – otherwise we will lose the tenement and someone else could snap it up,” Mr Watts said.

He said the company had spent “several hundreds of thousands” of dollars every year across three Gippsland-based tenements, located in the Trafalgar, Yarragon and Churchill areas.

“The government certainly knows how to maximise the use of those tenements by companies, as opposed to (licence holders) having blocks of ground locked up and not moving to develop them,” Mr Watts said.

A request for clarification on capital expenditure requirements put to the DSDBI by The Express was not responded to before going to print.

Mr Watts said Greenpower was in the “very early” development stages of two separate alternative coal use technologies: a microwave-based process which converted brown coal to char and a heavy oil, which could then be refined into liquid transport fuel, and a separate coal-to-liquid technology, referred to as Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution.

“Our programs are insufficiently advanced, we are a long way from producing any production demonstration units or pilot plants, and it’s not until we are at that point that we would look at how we would feed the coal resource into our plans, but that’s a long way into the future,” he said.