GTL Energy and Solid Energy sign an agreement to license GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology for development of low-rank coals in New Zealand.

Adelaide, Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand. – GTL Energy Ltd, an Australian-based coal technology company, and Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd, today announced the signing of a Licence Agreement which grants Solid Energy the right to use GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology in New Zealand.

Solid Energy selected GTL Energy technology after several years of evaluations, engineering studies, coal upgrading trials and combustion trials. Solid Energy’s coal was successfully tested at GTL Energy’s commercial scale demonstration plant in North Dakota, USA, last year.

Solid Energy’s Group Manager, New Developments, Brett Gamble, said: “We have worked closely with GTL Energy to determine the best means of upgrading our substantial lignite resources in the Southland into higher energy briquettes. Signing of the Licence Agreement is an important step in bringing this technology to New Zealand and in developing our domestic briquette plant in Mataura.

GTL Energy’s newly appointed CEO, Fred Schulte said: “This is a very exciting stage for GTL Energy, having brought this innovative technology through the path of research and development now to commercial deployment. We have a very strong partner in Solid Energy who have a great opportunity in New Zealand to promote a more efficient and value-added utilization of low-rank high moisture coals.”

“This is an important step in GTL Energy’s growth plans which include further plant development in other parts of the world in the near term” said Mr Schulte.

Solid Energy is currently completing the consenting (permitting) of its briquetting plant using GTL Energy technology in Mataura in Eastern Southland in the South Island of New Zealand. Construction will start at completion of the permitting process with first production in 2012. High energy briquettes will be sold into the domestic New Zealand coal market and be used in export market trials.