- In WA, PRL HyEnergy Renewable Zero Carbon Hydrogen Project has applied for another 864km2 in a move that will effectively double its production at Gascoyne.
Province Resources Ltd (ASX: PRL) recently announced that it has identified and recently applied for a further 864km2 in the Gascoyne coastal region to add to the industrial minerals Gascoyne Project (Gascoyne Project) and the HyEnergy ZERO CARBON HYDROGEN™ Project (HyEnergy Project).
Managing Director, David Frances, commented “The identification of the additional 864km2 of tenure complements both the Gascoyne industrial minerals project and HyEnergy green hydrogen project and importantly, gives us greater critical mass in the region. As we continue our desktop studies and progress the tenements to grant, I look forward to further outlining the Company’s initial exploration work programmes.”
Some of the key highlights of the Gascoyne Mineral Sands Project are listed below;
- Approximately 40km of strike extent of the Pleistocene Brown Range dunal sand formation within the project
- Regional aircore drilling nearby has confirmed the presence of commercially important heavy minerals in the northern Gascoyne coastal region.
- High grade sample recording up to 7.2% HM (WAROX SITENO 237029) in near-coastal sand dune system outside of tenement boundary, highlights prospectively of western portion of project
- Limited historic work completed in the project area testing inferred continuation of dunal
Capitalising on the Growing Mineral Sands Market
The Gascoyne Region boosts the world class Coburn mineral sands deposit with an Ore Reserve of 523Mt @ 1.11% Total Heavy Mineral (THM) and initial mine life of 22.5 years. Heavy minerals, such as zircon and titanium dioxide minerals (rutile and ilmenite) are deposited in the Pleistocene coastal sand dunal formations that extend intermittently along the Gascoyne coast. These heavy minerals are eroded from their parent igneous or metamorphic rocks and are transported by water and/or wind action over long periods of geological time, often ending up in the same locations as placer deposits. Most of the commercially attractive mineral sand deposits occur along old coastlines, particularly where high energy wave action and strong winds have prevailed over long periods of time.
Some of the key fundamentals of the heavy mineral sand market are listed below;
- Zircon and high-grade titanium feedstocks; producing products used in everyday life such as ceramic tiles, refractory, paint, titanium metal and welding rod
- Zircon is resistant to water, chemicals, heat and abrasion, ~1.1 million tonnes per annum global
- TiO2 pigment imparts whiteness, is UV resistant and inert, ~7.0 million tpa global
- Increasing demand driven by urbanisation, rising living standards, global growth and extensive array of
- ‘Critical Minerals’, vital to the economic well-being of the world’s major and emerging
- Supply restricted by mine closures, declining grades and depleting China chloride pigment consumption increasing, driven by higher environmental standards and technology advancement.
- Strong long-term market fundamentals – demand growth outpacing supply, new projects required to meet future demand
- Forecast structural supply gap, with demand for zircon increasing year on-year at 2.5-3.0% pa and existing production decreasing at average of 5%
Gascoyne Project – Salt, Gypsum and Potash
Mining is an increasingly valuable industry sector for the Gascoyne region, contributing $303.6 million to the gross regional product in 2018-19¹. The industry primarily concentrates on salt production at Useless Loop in the Shire of Shark Bay and at Lake MacLeod near Cape Cuvier, north of Carnarvon. When operating at their current full capacity of 12 million tonnes per annum, these two operations account for ~65% of the state’s total salt production. Due to an increase in the global price of salt and exchange rate differences in the global financial market, the mining sector in the Gascoyne has recently seen a significant increase in production and value over the past decade.
Some of the key fundamentals of the salt and potash market are listed below;
- >10,000 products derived from salt (PVC, alumina, glass, paper, water purification).
- Asian market size of ~160Mtpa salt (annual value of US$6.5B).
- >50Mtpa additional salt demand over next decade² – (growing population, requiring more industrial and consumer products).
- Potash is a premium fertiliser used on high value
- Potash global market size of ~7Mtpa (annual value of ~US$3.5B).
- ~1Mtpa additional potash demand over next decade³ – (growing population, changing dietary habits and declining arable land).
Some of the key highlights of the Gascoyne Salt, Gypsum and Potash Project are listed below;
- Gascoyne has an ideal climate to produce high purity
- High temperature, high wind, low rainfall and low
- Extensive inter-tidal and alluvium areas, including the southern extent of the Lake MacLeod evaporite basin to be
- Proven salt producing region since the 1960’s.
- Five large WA Solar Salt Operations (12-13Mtpa), controlled by Rio Tinto and
The HyEnergy ZERO CARBON HYDROGEN™ Project
The HyEnergy ZERO CARBON HYDROGEN™ Project is in Western Australia’s Gascoyne Region and covers a flat lying arid landscape with low intensity pastoral land use. With the Gascoyne’s climate and wind patterns, renewable energy is an attractive and viable option⁴. This low competing land use and proximity to a large regional centre and associated infrastructure of Carnarvon, means the project area is ideal for installation of a commercial scale wind and/or solar farm. The hydrogen industry is in its infancy in Western Australia, but it is truly amazing how swift and significant the move into sustainable energy by both governments and corporations around the globe has been of late.
Green hydrogen produced from renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy, looks set to play a significant role in navigating society towards a decarbonised future and meeting the global aim of net zero emissions by 2050.
Some of the key fundamentals of the green hydrogen market are listed below:
- Western Australia’s Hydrogen Strategy to support renewable hydrogen industry with a goal
of 10% mix of renewable hydrogen in the DBNGP by 2030.
- Funding from Government on both a State and Federal level include:
- Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy $10m.
- Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) $70m.
- Australian Government Advancing Hydrogen Fund $300m.
- And globally:
- $347b in ESG funds invested in 2020⁵.
- $490b govt and corporations selling ESG bonds⁵.
- Moody’s expects 2021 sustainable debt issuance to reach $650b and no signs of the ESG funds slowing⁵.
- > 100 countries pledged to Net Zero by 2050⁶.
- Estimated that $3 trillion or more in capital investment for decades will be needed⁶.
Some of the key highlights of the HyEnergy Project are listed below:
- Infrastructure, existing Dampier Bunbury gas pipeline within close proximity to potentially instal spur line and provide Hydrogen Feedstock in DBNGP for domestic or export
- Infrastructure, room for offshore Ship Loading Facility in the future for export
- Wind, ranked 4th in Western Australia for mean wind speeds recorded per annum⁷.
- Wind, located along coastal region with the greatest wind
- Solar, identified flat arid area with minimal competing land uses for large solar array
- Solar, Carnarvon has a very rich solar resource averaging 211 sunny days per year, with an average solar exposure of 22 MJ/m2 /day (or 6.24 kWh/m2 /day)⁸.
- Water, potential site to extract sea water for electrolyser
- Supportive Government, The Regional Centres Development Plan (RCDP) is about attracting business, investment and people to support the growth of WA’s Regional Centres and This means a stronger economy and a better quality of life for the people in regional WA – and for the benefit of all Western Australians.
As set out in the Company’s ASX release dated 17 February 2021, the Company has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire all of the shares in Ozexco Pty Ltd. A shareholders’ meeting will be held shortly to seek shareholder approval to complete this acquisition. The Company is an ASX listed natural resources company currently focused on the completion of the acquisition and progression of the HyEnergy ZERO CARBON HYDROGEN™ Project and the Gascoyne Industrial Minerals Project in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. The Company also has some legacy mineral exploration projects with potential for copper, gold, nickel, cobalt, vanadium and other mineral opportunities that have a long mine life and play a critical role in the economic development of world economies. The Company’s projects are located in Australia and Sweden.