GTL Energy and Solid Energy are proposing to temporarily shut down the briquette plant at Mataura while discussions continue about the plant’s future.
As a result, Solid Energy has today spoken to the plant’s staff, outlining a proposal which, if implemented as outlined, would see the number of permanent roles reduce from four to one. Solid Energy will consider any feedback from staff members and make a final decision by 24 October.
At the end of June 2013, Solid Energy and GTL Energy – provider of the plant’s coal upgrading technology – said they would jointly run the plant for a period to enable GTL Energy to demonstrate the plant’s production capabilities and technology and for product combustion and handling testing of the product. This phase was completed in late September. GTL Energy has options to lease or acquire the plant from Solid Energy, and the companies are continuing their discussions about the plant’s future in supporting GTL Energy’s technology deployment objectives.
Separately, Solid Energy has made it clear that it will not continue with lignite upgrading and intends to sell the plant.
GTL Energy’s CEO, Fred Schulte says, “The production results over the last few months were pleasing, with product produced, stockpiled, transported and sold. We are reviewing how the briquette product fits in the current New Zealand domestic coal market, and the plant’s role in supporting the next phase of global technology deployment, and that will dictate the plant’s future.”
Solid Energy Interim Chief Executive Garry Diack says the proposal outlined to staff today is to maintain the plant in good condition until discussions with GTL Energy are concluded.
About GTL Energy Ltd (GTL Energy or GTLE)
GTL Energy was established in Australia, and since 2005 has developed its coal upgrading technology at its pilot plant in Colorado, USA, its commercial scale demonstration plant in North Dakota which was completed in 2010 and the recent commissioning and operations at the New Zealand plant. The company has focused on researching and developing technology to convert low-grade coal into higher-rank fuel by removal of moisture and conversion into briquettes which feature higher energy content, reduced emissions, improved handling and transportation characteristics and increased market value. The Company has now progressed through commercial scale demonstration and into the deployment phase through projects under development in Indonesia, and under consideration in USA and Australia.