Exergen is continually working to add value to our technology both through research and through application to coal deposits. Our current activities are summarized below.
The Beaconsfield Pilot Plant has been successfully operating since 2004 and can process material at 4 tonnes per hour (tph). The facility is located at the Beaconsfield mine and uses the fresh air riser to run the vertical pipe. A number of coals from Australia and overseas have been successfully processed through the facility to prove the concept. In addition to the reactor work, above ground research in mechanical dewatering and other development pathways has been completed.
A 50 tph demonstration plant is to be built in a yet-to-be-determined location. This facility will scale up the plant designed at Beaconsfield and will prove the commercial pathways necessary to complete the design on the commercial facility. The plant will take about three years to design, permit, construct and operate for a sufficient period to complete the required test work. At the end of the demonstration phase the pathways for power generation and export of product will be completed.
Exergen has established a joint venture with WA-based exploration company Mantle Mining Corporation Limited (ASX: MNM) to develop the historic Bacchus Marsh coal deposit in country Victoria. The JV has been awarded an Exploration Licence (EL 5294) and following a recent 15-hole drilling program the partners are expected to announce a JORC Compliant Resource in July.August of 2012. Exergen's goal is to develop a long-term mine plan and CHTD processing facility which will underpin an export-based coal operation with established rail and port infrastructure.
As Exergen continues to develop our technology we also seek partners to deploy our process. We are working to secure more assets to underpin our development and to support the expenditure required to refine the technology.
The Victorian Government has announced that it will call for expressions of interest in the allocation of a resource in the Latrobe Valley. Exergen will participate in this process. The Latrobe Valley holds one of the world's biggest reserves of coal and currently 92% of electricity generated in Victoria comes from coal.
The state hosts one of the largest coal resources in the world, with 430 billion tonnes, of which 33 billion has been identified as potentially economic and 13 billion tonnes is currently unallocated and accessible. No coal is currently exported from Victoria. The Victorian Government periodically carries out allocations of coal in the Latrobe Valley to parties it believes are best placed to develop the resource for the benefit of Victorians.
This strategic resource in the Latrobe Valley has been exempted from the normal application process for exploration and mining licences, and is instead allocated by the State Government through tender processes. This process is designed to deliver orderly development of a key resource in a manner that is of greatest benefit to all stakeholders.
Exergen CHTD technology will help to improve the grade of lower grade Victorian coals to make foreign exports viable to markets such as China, India and Japan.
In addition to the La Trobe Valley, Exergen continues to look at opportunities around the world.