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Solid Energy continues lignite exploration in Southland

Oilfield Technology,

Solid Energy is recommencing exploration drilling designed to increase understanding of its lignite resources in the Croydon coalfield in Eastern Southland.

This drilling programme follows an exploration programme in 2007 conducted in both Croydon and Mataura coalfields. The new programme will provide the necessary information to help the miner make key decisions about how to mine the lignite to meet the quantity and quality of plant feed requirements of its various lignite conversion projects. It will also provide important data used in the preparation of environmental effects assessments.

Solid Energy’s lignite conversion manager, Greg Visser, says most of the work will take place on land and lignite resources owned by Solid Energy. A small number of private landowners in Croydon, around New Vale and South Mataura will be approached to grant access to land where further drilling is required.

As part of its pre-feasibility studies Solid Energy is still considering whether to locate its new pilot briquetting plant for lignite upgrading at the former Mataura minesite, the New Vale mine, or the former Mataura paper mill. To aid this work, more geotechnical drilling is being carried out at the Mataura minesite. Other potential lignite-conversion projects being explored include gasifying lignite to produce high-value products such as urea and liquid fuels.

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