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Thread: NZ's buried riches

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    Default NZ's buried riches

    Huge riches buried deep in the south
    04 November 2006
    By JULIET LARKIN

    New Zealand could be transformed into an oil rich nation on the strength of Southland and Otago's recoverable lignite deposits.

    A new report says the deposits could also provide most of the country's transport fuel and petrochemical requirements for more than 300 years.

    The Value of New Zealand's Lignite Reserves: Hawkdun and Home Hills, commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development, advocates enormous financial and economic gains from using the south's non-renewable lignite reserves.

    The lignite report, by consultant David Natusch, says a mining and processing project producing petrochemicals or electricity at Central Otago's Hawkdun-Home Hills is commercially feasible, in national economic interest and will substantially increase the country's self reliance and security of supply.

    If developed at the rate of 20 million tonnes a year the lignite could provide energy and feedstock for most of New Zealand's transport fuel and petrochemical requirements for more than 300 years.

    "New Zealand's lignite resource will still be available long after most nations have exhausted their hydrocarbon feedstocks. This will place New Zealand in a future strategic position not dissimilar to that of the oil rich nations today," the report says.

    The Hawkdun lignite deposit alone, if mined to completion, will have a gross product value of between $75 billion and $120 billion, the report says.

    Yesterday, Energy Minister David Parker was lukewarm about the report, saying the financial and environmental impacts of greenhouse gases were not considered. "It (the report) provides more detail about something we already knew was there, but it's a narrow part of economic considerations."

    Technical advances in carbon sequestration were still some way off and there were far cheaper ways to produce electricity, aside from the issue of green house emissions.

    Lignite was more likely to be utilised for chemicals, fertiliser or liquid fuels but there was no certainty it would happen, he said.

    Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the report was a sign that some government departments had not caught up with the government's direction on sustainability.Money would be better spent on reports investigating renewable energy sources such as wave and tidal power, she said.

    L&M Group and Solid Energy hold much of the permits covering the lignite deposits in Southland and Otago.

    Solid Energy spokesperson Vicky Blyth said lignite resources held enormous potential but massive challenges had still to be overcome.

    POTENTIAL
    Development of a single lignite resource could provide:
    ? ?71 million tonnes of transport fuels (15-20 years' national supply).
    ? ?All our fertiliser requirements for 127 years, with extra exports worth about $540 million a year.
    ? ?All our domestic methanol requirements plus extra export income of $1 billion.
    ? ?All of the South Island electricity demand for 60 years.

    - The Southland Times
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    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Re: NZ's buried riches

    Oh goody. Lignite is less efficient than coal, and probably has at least as many impurities (like sulphur). Ergo, more pollution per BTU. That, and transformation of a beautiful area into a strip mine.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
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