Leigh Creek Energy (ASX: LCK) is another step closer to commercialising its namesake project after concluding consultations with South Australian regulatory authorities and establishing a clear approval pathway.
Consultations have now wound up with the South Australian Department of Energy and Mining regarding the operations and shut down process for its synthesis gas (syngas) pre-commercial demonstration plant in South Australia.
Earlier this year, Leigh Creek hailed the pilot plant a “great success” after it produced syngas via in-situ gasification (ISG) and proved production could be achieved at commercial levels.
After proving this, Leigh Creek began the decommissioning stage which comprised shutting down and preserving the plant and its equipment.
This was followed by a monitoring regime which continues to reveal no reported environmental impacts or safety issues from the plant.
According to Leigh Creek, monitoring data is required to be collect for up to three months to ensure the demonstration plant was compliant and operated safely with little or no impact to people or the environment.
When all monitoring commitments have been completed, Leigh Creek will provide the regulator with a full report.
“We are pleased that following the shut down of the pre-commercial demonstration plant, we have been able to work with the Department of Energy and Mining to confirm that the pre-commercial demonstration plan was operated with the approved Statement of Environmental Objectives, that there were zero environmental and safety incidents and that independent reports provided to the Department of Energy and Mining showed that the pre-commercial demonstration plant was operated safely and in accordance with all regulatory requirements,” Leigh Creek managing director Phil Staveley said.
“Additionally, a pathway to obtain commercial approval has been established,” he added.
Commercial approval process
Under the agreed commercial approval process, Leigh Creek will submit an environmental impact report.
The company will then acquire additional environmental, social and economic baseline data to underpin the next stage of the plant and expand its scope to include a full resource area within Leigh Creek’s petroleum exploration licence 650.
Following this, seismic data will be collected along with delineation drilling and these stages will form part of the field development program for the commercial stage operations.
Leigh Creek noted the field development will be governed by activity notifications.
“The Department of Energy and Mines emphasised that Leigh Creek will have to provide a clear narrative of the data and information gained from the pre-commercial demonstration plant,” Mr Staveley said.
“All of these items are normal and standard. Leigh Creek continues to comply with these regulations,” Mr Staveley added.
Today’s news follows a $3.2 million capital raising to fund the approvals process and the rapid development of the project’s maiden 2P reserve of 1,153PJ.