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CIC Energy makes progress on bold Mmamabula project

Business Report – Johannesburg, South Africa

CIC Energy makes progress on bold Mmamabula project 

August 8, 2008

By Mining Weekly

Johannesburg – CIC Energy, which plans to build a coal mine and power station at its Mmamabula project in Botswana, this week unveiled the next step in its ambitious plans for the coalfield with an option agreement for a licence on technology from fuel giant Royal Dutch Shell.

CIC Energy has also published positive results from feasibility studies into a proposed coal-to-hydrocarbons (CTH) project – similar to Sasol’s operations – at the Mmamabula coalfield, which it hopes to have in commercial operation by 2014. The firm is listed on the Botswana and Toronto stock exchanges.

The plan is to convert coal from Mmamabula into fuels and petrochemicals by first gasifying the coal.

An independent study identified Shell’s technology as one of two that could feasibly be used to gasify the Mmamabula coal, and so CIC Energy signed an agreement with Shell for the option to acquire a licence from Shell for its coal gasification process technology for the CTH project.

Shell’s gasification process technology uses pulverised coal fines, which are expected to be a significant by-product of CIC Energy’s planned coal export operations.

Greg Kinross, the president of CIC Energy, said the firm would work towards completing the environmental assessment and a value-chain study, which would enable it to finalise a bankable feasibility study for the CTH project.

The feasibility study results “provide a strong foundation to advance this project toward initial commercial operations in 2014”, he added.

The value-chain study, which was due to be completed in the third quarter, was being conducted for CIC by Shell Global Solutions International.

Options currently on the table include methanol, for use as a combustion fuel in gas-fired power stations. 

The methanol could also be converted to a range of fuels and petrochemicals such as petrol, dimethyl ether (DME), and propylene.

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