A decision on whether or not to proceed with the construction of binderless coal briquetting (BCB) plant by River Energy Joint Venture at a major South African coal mine will be taken this quarter, according to River Energy’s majority shareholder, White Energy Co.
In its December quarterly update, White Energy said that the “parties have committed to reaching a decision on whether or not to proceed with this project during the current quarter and, if deciding to proceed, the necessary transaction documentation within the current quarter.”
Work on the study component of the project was completed in the December quarter including all test work at White Energy’s Cessnock production plant in Australia and a redefinition of the size, location and scope of the project into a package that appears to work for both parties.
The current preferred option would see River Energy construct a more independent facility, removed from the coal washplant operations on the coal producer’s mine site, with increased flexibility on feedstock and product offtake arrangements.
“While the key drivers for this project have not changed and both parties are working to achieve a positive outcome, it is clear that the current market conditions have not helped River Energy maintain the momentum in this project over the last 6 months,” White Energy concluded.
The BCB technology upgrades sub-bituminous coals through a thermal drying process followed by physical and chemical stabilization through a binderless briquetting process, White Energy says on its website. According to the company, it provides coal-fired power plants and other industrial applications with the “opportunity to burn a cleaner and more efficient coal.”
In addition to the South African project and its Cessnock BCB production plant in Australia, White Energy also owns a majority stake in a US thermal coal mine, Mountainside Coal Co., where it is planning to build a BCB plant with a final decision to proceed expected in the near future.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.