21 November 2019
Altona Energy plc
("Altona" or the "Company")
Negotiation for New Petroleum Exploration Licence
and Business Update
Petroleum Exploration Licence Application
Altona Energy (NEX: ANR.PL), a resources company, announces that it has entered into early stage negotiations with a third party to acquire a Petroleum Exploration Licence Application (“PELA”) on a large tenement within a well-known coal bearing basin, the Arckaringa Basin located in South Australia. The tenement is in close proximity to the major national road and rail transport corridor and also close to the Company’s historic Minerals Exploration Licences within the Arckaringa Basin.
The Company has commissioned a preliminary report from mining consultant WSP Australia (WSP”) which states the tenement is sufficiently prospective to warrant further investigations in respect to developing a commercially viable in-situ gasification (“ISG”) project. WSP has also indicated that such a project could form part of a commercially viable and much broader development by the Company, in the form of an ‘Energy Precinct’.
In addition to the chemical and other by-products possible from the ISG process, the Energy Precinct would be designed to produce energy from a variety of sources, including syngas from ISG, as well as a co-located wind and / or solar energy field. South Australia has an energy deficit and there are a number of remote mining operations that would very likely welcome locally produced power at a competitive rate.
The Company will report to shareholders in due course on the outcome of these negotiations, together with an initial cost plan and timeline to establish the presence of coal in at least two areas of the tenement at depths suitable for ISG.
The Company announced on 6 June 2019 that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese vanadium company which the Company was investigating ahead of a potential investment. It can now report that the board has decided against making an investment into this company at the present time, due to a number of key market and economic factors.
Furthermore, in respect of the company’s existing Australian activities, the board has agreed to withdraw its applications for the renewal of the three Exploration Licences (EL5676, 5677 and 5678) in the Arckaringa Basin. As shareholders are aware, the Company does not own the PELA which lies over these tenements and believes that it will not have the opportunity to acquire it in the foreseeable future. And, as the Company remains focused on ISG for the extraction of coal, rather than more traditional coal mining methods, the cost of carrying these tenements is both administratively and economically redundant to the current strategy of Altona.
Finally, at a board meeting held on 19 November, Mr Ma Chi, the representative of the Company’s joint venture partner Sino-Aus Energy Group Ltd (“Sino-Aus”) and a non-Executive Director of the Company, announced that Sino-Aus was no longer interested in an investment in ISG. Therefore, the Company has dissolved its joint venture agreement of 5 November 2015 with Sino-Aus and Mr Ma has resigned from the board with immediate effect.
Philip Sutherland, Altona’s Australian Non-Executive Director, commented, “Over the past 10 months, we have been working diligently to find an alternative source of revenue for the Company and this exciting opportunity to acquire a PELA could represent a major step for the future of Altona.
“The frustration for shareholders since 2015, has been the knowledge that Altona has had the financial backing from its joint venture partners and also vast amounts of mining data collected over many years of exploration on our tenements, but we did not own the correct licence to allow us to prosecute an in-situ gasification project. Early indications are that this new and very exciting opportunity could allow us to achieve what we set out to do five years ago.”
For further information, please visit www.altonaenergy.com or contact:
|Altona Energy plc |
Qinfu Zhang, Executive Director
Philip Sutherland, Non-Executive Director
+44 (0) 7795 168 157
+61 (0)402 440 339
|Alfred Henry Corporate Finance Ltd (NEX Corporate Adviser) |
Jon Isaacs / Nick Michaels
+44 (0) 20 3772 0021
|Leander (Financial PR) |
Christian Taylor- Wilkinson
+44 (0) 7795 168 157
Altona is an exploration company focused on the evaluation, development and extraction of coal assets in South Australia though the process of in-situ gasification.
The Company was admitted to trading on AIM on 10 March 2005 and was subsequently admitted to NEX on 1 February 2019. A copy of its admission documents dated 4 March 2005 can be accessed on its website, www.altonaenergy.com. This website is where items can be inspected under Rule 75 of the NEX Rules for Issuers, from 1 February 2019.