Source: The Age
Article Date: 11/05/2007
MINING giant BHP Billiton is providing $US35 million ($A42 million) to White Energy to help it roll out cleaner coal technology.
White Energy, which is backed by the same private equity house that brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts to Australia, has secured the global rights to technology developed by the CSIRO that improves poor-quality coal by increasing its energy efficiency and emitting fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
White Energy managing director John Atkinson said the new technology came into play in the briquetting process, when sub-bituminous coal is dried and densely bound, which allows it to burn longer with less ash and sulfur by-products.
Mr Atkinson said the process produced not “clean coal but cleaner coal … It is a step in the direction, it is not the panacea.”
ending approval, it will be used next year in Indonesia in a joint venture with coal producer PT Bayan Resources.
BHP’s contribution will go towards establishing a seven-year unsecured funding facility that will convert $US7.5 million into shares in White Energy by September next year. A further $US12.5 million will be converted into shares over the next four years.
The funding is subject to due diligence and internal approvals.
BHP Billiton spokeswoman Samantha Evans said the company would act as an exclusive marketing agent for White Energy’s upgraded coal, which was part of a broader marketing transaction.
“We believe the technology holds potential and we will consider the application of WEC’s technology in certain of our sub-bituminous coal deposits. We will consider opportunities when and where appropriate,” she said.
White Energy’s share price shot to its highest trading price since the company listed in 2005, gaining 15 per cent, or 37¢, to close at $2.79.