White signs major coal upgrading deal

WHITE Energy has signed its second major joint venture for its coal upgrading technology which will see a processing plant built in Indonesia to upgrade up to 8 million tonnes of coal a year.

Angie Tomlinson

The deal was signed with one of Indonesia’s largest coal companies – Adaro Group – and major Japanese trading house Itochu Corporation.

Under the joint venture White subsidiary Binderless Coal Briquetting Company (BCBC) will design, build and operate processing plants using White technology at Adaro’s coal mines in East Kalimantan.

A financial and technical feasibility study will be undertaken to build a processing plant with the capacity to produce 1Mt of upgraded coal per year, with the intention to increase plant capacity to 8Mt.

White Energy is the exclusive worldwide licence holder of the binderless coal briquetting process that enhances relatively poor quality coal to significantly increase its energy efficiency.

The company said the technology, originally developed by CSIRO, helps reduce transportation and operational costs and creates environmental credits by reducing emissions.

Yesterday’s deal is White Energy’s second major joint venture in the past few months.

The company said it is currently in negotiations on similar transactions on commercialising its technology and hopes to make further announcements in the near future.

“Ongoing strategic partnering with industry participants will be a key platform to commercialising White Energy’s coal technology worldwide. This is particularly evident in Asia where there is significant demand for a low ash, low sulfur coal solution which White Energy’s process provides,” White managing director John Atkinson said.

Prior to the signing of the joint venture a detailed coal analysis and testing program was undertaken, with results showing Adaro coal was significantly enhanced from White Energy’s technology.

“Post testing, Adaro’s coal had a higher energy content, combined with lower ash and sulfur levels, which is very attractive to the Japanese utilities who are major buyers of Indonesian coal,” Atkinson said.

Adaro holds reserve and resources of 3.146 billion tonnes and has a production capacity of 40Mtpa.

In the venture BCBC will hold a majority 51% interest and Adaro and Itochu will hold 29% and 20% respectively. BCBC will take the lead role in the construction and ongoing operation of the plant.

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