PNG gives Australian company green light to extract coal in Gulf

Australian firm, Mayur Resources Ltd (MRL), has been granted an environmental permit to extract coal in Papua New Guinea's  Gulf province.
The firm was given the go ahead to proceed with an exploration licence (EL1875), owned by its PNG subsidiary Waterford Ltd.
This is the first time the Papua New Guinea Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (Cepa) has issued an environmental permit for coal bulk sampling in PNG to enable commercial grade shipments.
The conditions of the permit include the submission and implementation of an environmental management plan.
The permit enabled the provision of bulk samples of coal for market and end user testing.
Managing director Paul Mulder said: “This is an exciting step in bringing Papua New Guinea coal to the international market as a potential new source of energy coal.
“The coal from Papua New Guinea is attractive as it possesses very low in situ ash content of 3‐10 per cent, sulphur of around 0.5 per cent, and tests to date have yielded good energy values without the need for washing one.
“Therefore, this type of thermal coal has strong demand in Asia. It is of superior quality and cleaner compared to, for example, much of the thermal coal that Australia utilises for its own power generation requirements.
“Coal still provides most of Australia’s critical base load power via the provision of reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply to support its first world living standards.
“Coal is also the dominant fuel source in China and India as well as in Southeast Asia.”
The bulk sampling test works will also help to confirm suitability of the coal for use in domestic power generation.
MRL other subsidiary (Mayur Power Generation PNG Ltd) is also developing a proposed 50MW power station outside PNG’s industrial port city of Lae at the Western Tidal Basin, Morobe.
Given coal has never been mined in PNG, any future production and subsequent exports from PNG would represent just a tiny fraction of the international seaborne market that is dominated by the likes of Australia (exporting over 200 million tonnes per year) and Indonesia (exporting over 350 million tonnes per year).
Moreover, at 50MW the Lae power project is also very small by world standards and would only require around 300,000 tonnes of coal per annum.
Various major Asian countries use seaborne imports to supplement the use of their own domestic coal, others that do not have access to domestic coal resources rely solely on these imports.
Although PNGs exports would only contribute in a small way in supporting Asia’s energy needs, the key is that these coals are of favourable quality with low sulphur and ash characteristics and will provide foreign currency inflows and economic growth opportunities for improvements in employment and education in Gulf. The National

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