25 September 2017
Altona Energy Plc
("Altona" or "the Company")
The Board of Altona (AIM: ANR) provides an update to shareholders regarding the result of the report produced by WSP Australia Pty Ltd ("WSP") (formerly known as Parson Brinckerhoff (Australia). The Company also provides details of a claim by a former director.
The Company requested WSP to undertake a fresh investigation into unlocking conventional mining as an alternate to the previous UCG work undertaken in 2016, with the aim of developing an energy/power generation precinct in the Arckaringa Basin (with the capacity to produce other commercial products). This new strategic direction is in response to the acute energy deficit in Australia and the commercial opportunities arising from this. The Company was also cognisant of the fact that a conventional coal mining operation linked to a coal (conversion) to gas plant - with the gas fuelling turbines producing electricity - could be brought into operation/production much quicker than a UCG development.
The report focused on a desktop investigation of the Company's previous work to determine whether there is a possibility of dry coal deposits in any of the three Exploration Licences (ELs) (Wintinna, Murlocoppie and Westfield) under the control of Altona. Mining dry coal is preferable as the costs associated with dewatering are not necessary and there are fewer environmental considerations. Much of the earlier work was centred on a "world scale" coal mine requiring substantial dewatering.
The WSP report concluded that there was not sufficient information to rule out the presence of dry coal in the Wintinna, Murlocoppie and Westfield coalfields. Although much of the area covered by the three coal fields is below the water table, there is some evidence that there are areas that are 'less wet', with Westfield the most likely to have dry coals; it being disconnected from the major water system.
The report concluded with a recommendation to proceed with a more detailed and accurate data analysis and mapping of the ELs using the seismic and water table data to focus in on the Westfield coalfield and areas disconnected from the main water system and to develop information for a potential seismic programme.
WSP have engaged the services of Runge Pincock Minarco Global ("RPM") who are a specialist professional mining consultant with previous history with the Arckaringa ELs. This consulting firm is an expert in coal and familiar with the Arckaringa Basin. The Company's tenement at Westfield, which is located at the edge of the Great Artesian Basin, will be the focus of this next round of work. The cost of this new phase of testing will be up to AUS$ 25,000 and take up to two weeks to complete.
Sino-Aus Energy Group Ltd ("Sino-Aus") remains supportive of the project. Once the new report has been completed and if it is conclusive, Sino-Aus and Altona will meet with WSP and RPM in Australia to discuss and agree upon the next phase of the project.
Claim from former Director
The Board of Altona has been informed that a default judgment has been entered against the Company for £238,680.68 in respect of a claim by a former director, who has alleged entitlement to a termination payment under a settlement agreement. The Company is making an application to the court to set aside the default judgment on the grounds that it believes that it has a real prospect of successfully defending the claim.
The Company is considering various financing options to increase its working capital as a prudent measure having regard to the existing default judgment and additional test work mentioned above.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 596/2014.
For further information, please visit www.altonaenergy.com or contact:
Altona Energy plc
Qinfu Zhang, Executive Chairman
+44 (0)7555 679 245
Leander (Financial PR)
Christian Taylor- Wilkinson
+44 (0)7795 168 157
Northland Capital Partners Ltd (Nomad and Broker)
Matthew Johnson / Gerry Beaney (Corporate Finance)
John Howes (Corporate Broking)
+44 (0)20 3861 6625
Altona is listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market. Its principal focus is on the evaluation and development of the Company's flagship Arckaringa Project to exploit the significant coal resources contained in three exploration licences covering 2,500 sq. kms in the northern portion of the Permian Arckaringa Basin in South Australia. The Project is designed to produce syngas products for the Australian market and export from a resource exceeding 7.8 billion tonnes of coal (1.3 billion tonnes JORC compliant).
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