SA Mines and Energy Journal : October-November 2010
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2010 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 6 INDUSTRY NEWS Progress at Paralana Petratherm started "fracture stimulation" at its Paralana geothermal energy project in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia in August. The two-stage process involves engineers and geologists fracture stimulating the Paralana-2 well to create a pathway for water to pass through the site's hot rocks almost 4km below the surface. "The resulting fracturing of the rocks will be measured by a micro-seismic array already established around the site, " said Petratherm Managing Director Terry Kallis (pictured). "That micro-seismic array will map, in three dimensions, the thousands of micro-fractures created by the fracture stimulation process to generate a geothermal reservoir. "This is an exciting new step forward in the process and it has required careful planning. The successful creation of an underground reservoir will significantly de-risk the Paralana project and give us confidence in achieving the requisite flow rates to make the project economic. " Exco Resources has announced that gold production at its White Dam mine is 30 per cent above target. Following the first gold pour at the White Dam Gold Project in April 2010, the operation has continued to perform extremely well, with the first five months yielding 27,474 ounces of gold. Current production levels equate to an annualised rate of more than 65,000 ounces (30% above the target rate of 50,000 ounces per annum). Achieving average sale prices of A$1,382 per ounce -- 25 per cent above budget -- coupled with operating costs well below $600 per ounce means that the company is on track to repay its share of the Barclays gold loan by Q1, 2011, approximately six months ahead of the original target. "The combination of higher production rates and better than expected gold prices has Exco on track to repay its share of the Barclays Capital debt facility (gold loan) some six months ahead of schedule in Q1/2011. As a result the company expects to benefit from substantial cash flows from the project throughout 2011, " said a company statement. "Near-mine exploration and resource development activities are ongoing with a view to extending the mine life at White Dam. A number of near-mine targets at Vertigo, White Dam North and Ambush have recently been drill tested. Results, and an updated resource model for the Vertigo Deposit, will be released in due course. " Exco is an Australian focused, ASX-listed mining company (ASX: EXS). The Company has a dual focus on developing both the White Dam Gold Project in South Australia, and the Cloncurry Copper Project (CCP) in northwest Queensland. Exco's White Dam exceeding targets Syngas awarded grant for Biomass field trials Syngas and the Yorke Peninsula Alkaline Soils Group (a local crop farmers group), have jointly been awarded a $300,000 grant from Renewables South Australia to assist an assessment of the costs for various methods of large scale collection, storage and transportation of non-food biomass -- specifically chaff and residual straw. The large scale logistics management field trials will be undertaken on the Yorke Peninsula and Mid North, and are the first step in establishing the commercial viability of an entirely non-food, biomass--fed 1,200 barrel-per-day liquid transportation fuel plant in the Yorke Peninsula area. Field trial outcomes will also allow other Biomass projects to be assessed, such as bio-power generation. Most of the field trial work will be completed by early 2011.
December 2010 - January 2011