Following close in the footsteps of Andrew Forrest, hitherto gold and nickel explorer Province Resources (ASX: PRL) has hitched its wagon to the latest market sensation, green hydrogen.
Stocks in the company shot out of the gates on the news and were up more than 160% in the first minutes of Wednesday trading.
The company, which has been toiling away at its Pascalle gold project and Gnama nickel target, has signed a conditional agreement with unlisted Ozexco to acquire seven exploration licences in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region that are considered to be prospective for salt, potash and mineral sands.
Moreover, these projects are suitable for developing in tandem with a green hydrogen project, known as HyEnergy.
Earlier this year, Mr Forrest announced he planned for his iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) to become a pioneer of cheap green hydrogen, and would aim to produce 1,000 gigawatts of zero emissions energy around the world.
The green hydrogen at Province’s intended project is to be produced from renewable resources, such as wind and solar.
Province has also raised $1.35 million through a “highly oversubscribed” capital placement, with the directors contributing $250,000 of that.
Salt, potash, mineral sands to be produced using hydrogen
The company intends to produce salt and potash using the energy from the planned HyEnergy installation.
It expects that the Gascoyne project may be able to use an “inexhaustible” seawater resource to be turned into concentrates through solar and wind evaporation and, as a result, be able to sustainably produce salt and potash ready to meet growing global demand.
It says the Gascoyne region has an ideal climate in which to produce salt — high temperatures, high winds, low rainfall and low humidity.
It has been a proven salt producing region since the 1960s, and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Mitsui operate five large West Australian salt operations there, producing up to 13 million tonnes a year.
The company noted that there has been no new large Australian project in the past 20 years.
Production of sulphate of potash (SoP) from brines is another objective.
Province says there is “no current SoP production in Australia while other development projects are all based on inland lake brines with around 800km road transport to third party ports”.
Minerals sands production using HyEnergy is also planned.
Province Resources notes that the West Australian state government is “extremely supportive” towards emerging green hydrogen projects.
The company has appointed Perth’s Viaticus Capital, which has what it calls “international experience in the green energy space”, to help the company execute the project. Viaticus subscribed $450,000 towards the capital raising.