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Solid Energy starts work at Mataura Briquette Plant

9 September 2011

Solid Energy marks the start of work at its Mataura Briquette Plant

The Hon Bill English, MP for Clutha-Southland and Minister of Finance, today marked the official start of work at Solid Energy’s Mataura Briquette Plant, by “turning the first sod” at a small event on site with neighbours, local authorities, and other guests.

The $25 million Mataura briquette plant is planned to start production by June 2012. It will produce up to 90,000 tonnes a year of low-moisture and higher-energy briquettes from about 150,000 tonnes of lignite mined from Solid Energy’s New Vale Opencast Mine and trucked to the Craig Road site. The plant will use technology developed in the USA by GTL Energy.

Thirteen full-time jobs will be created to operate the plant along with 10 additional full-time positions at New Vale Mine to cater for the increased business in Southland. Up to 85 full-time positions will be created in the construction of the plant.

The roading and fencing contracts have all been awarded to local contractors. About 20% of the plant construction involves licensed proprietary equipment manufactured and sourced from the United States as part of Solid Energy’s agreement with GTL Energy.

A decision to build a commercial-scale briquetting plant will only be made once the demonstration briquetting plant has successfully met Solid Energy objectives of producing low-moisture, higher-energy briquettes which have proven their value in New Zealand and international markets. That will require the company to apply for new resource consents.

Solid Energy Chief Executive Officer, Dr Don Elder, says “Over the past six years we have progressed a comprehensive strategy to unlock the value of Southland’s lignite resource for the benefit of New Zealand, by developing a range of projects of scale increasing with time. It’s very exciting to be here today for the start of work on the first of these projects.”

Dr Elder confirmed that while other Solid Energy lignite projects are still in the early stages of development, the company would take full responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions including the full cost of carbon. Solid Energy would meet its carbon obligations through a range of approaches and technologies. These will include technology to reduce production emissions, offsetting emissions by planting trees, capturing and sequestering carbon underground and purchasing carbon credits.

ENDS

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