LEIGH CREEK ENEGRY
Leigh Creek Energy Limited
(ASX: LCK) is an emerging South Australian energy company on the cusp of commencing a large 30+ year project that will boost economic and community development of the struggling outback town of Leigh Creek and surrounding regions.
The town of Leigh Creek plays a vital role in the socio-economic fabric of South Australia’s far north, but the closure of the Leigh Creek Coalfield in 2015 has since condemned the town to steep population decline and business closures. Front and centre to the town’s hopes of survival is Leigh Creek Energy’s (LCK) in situ gasification project at the former coalfield, which is expected to yield its first gas extraction during the third quarter of 2018.
Part of the project’s distinctive attraction is its huge resource, which at just under 3000PJ makes up almost 8 per cent of East Australia’s 2C syngas resource. A wide range of options for commercial opportunities include the supply of quality methane into the east coast pipeline, new electricity generation, and ammonia products.
But while an ultimate commercial direction is yet to be determined, an LCKcommissioned Independent Economic Impact Assessment of a scaled up commercial facility ( 500 MW, fuelled by syngas) estimates over 2500 jobs will be created during the construction phase in SA, 380 long term jobs during operations and hundreds of millions of dollars injected into the SA economy. Bolstering confidence in the project’s success is the unique combination between innovative and environmentally- compliant technology, and accessing the ideal site.
An expert independent review incorporated into the state government’s environmental approval for PCD operations earlier in 2018 concluded, “the Leigh Creek site represents one of the strongest opportunities for low risk commercial UCG anywhere in the world”. LCK Managing Director, Phil Staveley says the positive expert analysis bolsters the project’s credibility, but LCK must still prove to the regulator, stakeholders and the market it can demonstrate it can produce commercial quantities of gas safely with minimal impact to the environment.
“Our current focus is on building, operating and decommissioning a small scale Pre-Commercial Demonstration to show we can produce commercial quantities and qualities of syngas and operate safely with minimal impact to the environment,” Mr Staveley said. “Data from the PCD will then assist in the design of a larger commercial facility. “Subject to receiving regulatory approval, we plan to begin operation of the PCD during quarter 3 2018.”
With a large, economic resource remaining and on land already used for mining, LCK hopes to bring sustainability and prosperity to the town of Leigh Creek and surrounding region The site at Leigh Creek is one of the best in the world for an ISG operation and has been graded against key criteria outlined by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) in the US. Baseline testing (geology and groundwater) by LCK has confirmed this.
Points of di erence to other ISG projects include the remote location and lack of land use conflict, a deep (between 500m and 700m) and thick seam (10-20m) coal resource, suitable geology (thick mudstone overburden with no faulting extending to surface) and hydrogeology (no aquifers or users of site adjacent groundwater).