Home' Australian Resources and Investment : March 2010 Contents 140 • MARCH 2010 • AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES & INVESTMENT
Hot Rock Limited's wholly owned subsidiary, Hot Rock Chile S.A.,
has been formally awarded three volcanic geothermal
concessions in Chile by the Chile Ministry of Mining. The
locations of these areas which cover 1,650km2 in total are
shown in Figure 1.
Galo: Located within the Santiago Metropolitan region only 90km
from the major power load centre in the city proper and close to both
major grid transmission and the largest underground copper mine in the
world (El Teniente) with high power requirements. The geothermal
prospect is situated within a volcanic complex in the foothills of the
Andes. It has a number of thermal spring discharges at surface which have
geochemical evidence for an underlying active geothermal system with
temperatures in excess of 200ºC.
Santa Sonia: Located in Region VII, 350km to the south of Santiago
and within 40km of the SIC transmission grid, the largest grid in Chile
servicing the Santiago to south central Chile region. The geothermal
prospect is associated with the Mt Longavi Volcanic Complex and has a
number of impressive boiling, silica sinter forming surface springs
distributed over a large area, discharging with individual heat rates of up
to 30MW (Figure 2).
Santa Antonia: Located in Region VIII, 150km south of Santa Sonia.
The concession is associated with the Copahue/Callaqui Volcanic Complex
which straddles the Argentina/ hile border. Four geothermal wells have
been drilled from Argentina into the Copahue system and these prove the
existence of a large, permeable, steam dominated geothermal system, with
reservoir temperatures up to 250ºC. A number of hot surface springs with
discharge temperatures up to 75ºC occur within and around the Santa
Antonia Prospect. A 5MWe demonstration geothermal power plant is
currently being developed on the Argentine side of the border following
the successful installation and operation of a 1 MWe pilot plant.
In commenting on these awards, HRL's Executive Chairman Dr Mark
Elliott noted that "with some 300 volcanoes the geothermal power
potential of Chile is fantastic. This combined with a high in-country
demand for renewable power and the high quality of the business
environment in Chile presents an excellent investment case for HRL to
extend its activities into international high temperature volcanic
geothermal developments in parallel with its large hot sedimentary aquifer
geothermal (HSA) projects in the Otway Basin in Victoria, Australia".
He further noted that "the awards of these concessions were made in
the face of intense competition from other international developers and
this reflects well on the very successful establishment of Hot Rock Chile
SA in 2009 and the confidence placed by the Chile Ministry of Mines on
HRL's capabilities in geothermal exploration and development".
HRL is now commencing detailed field exploration surveys at these
three prospects. These will include over the first 12 months detailed
geological and geochemical work leading to magneto telluric (MT)
resistivity surveys to delineate geothermal system boundaries, followed by
multi-disciplinary hydro geological modelling, resource assessment and
ranking of prospects against resource potential, location and market
criteria. Exploration well drilling and flow testing and post drilling
detailed resource evaluation will be undertaken during the second year.
"With the convergence of the need for new power generation in Chile,
a rapidly growing appreciation by the Chile government for the value of
indigenous renewable energy sources, the quantity and quality of
geothermal prospects in Chile, a power market price structure that is able
to meet directly the cost of geothermal power development and a high
quality and stable business environment, HRL is confident of achieving
considerable success in Chile in parallel with its substantial forward
geothermal development program in Australia. Both will add significantly
to shareholder value," said Dr Elliott.
Technical details on the three awarded prospects, and a number of
further prosects that HRL has applied for in Chile with awards currently
pending, are available on HRL's website www.hotrockltd.com.
Hot Rock awarded three
Figure 1: Locations of the three geothermal concessions in Chile awarded to HRL
Figure 2 High flow rate, boiling, silica sinter forming surface spring discharge of geothermal
water at one location in the Santa Sonia concession. For scale, the height of the hot geother-
mal water fall is 20m and the rate of hot water flow from the spring is 100 kg/sec -- about
the same size as the flow rate from a large commercial geothermal power well.
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