West Hawk tests coal-to-gas

West Hawk Development (WHD) has made advancements of both social processes and technical evaluation for its Mackenzie Valley coal-to-gas project in Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. Successful, preliminary meetings with Elders and Business Executives followed by public meetings with residents of Tulita and Norman Wells, NWT, have recently been conducted. Simultaneously, the company has signed a non-disclosure and coal testing agreement (NDA) with Lurgi of South Africa, in order to advance negotiations on developing this historically identified coal resource.

WHD has shipped samples from the coal seams at its Tate Lake and Seagull Island properties to a South African laboratory for scaled gasification testing to evaluate suitability of the coal feedstock needed to produce pipeline quality gas. Mark Otto, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Lurgi said “We are pleased with the developments between our two companies and look forward to the potential advancement of this North American project.”

Face to face talks focused on advancing a coal resource definition drill programme and the development potential for this significant project are progressing well with the people of the Sahtu Region, NWT. “The leadership delegations represented a broad societal cross section of those who reside in this remote, resource rich region” says WHD’s CEO, Chris Verrico. “This introduction and exploratory dialogue has given management significant confidence to proceed with the company’s assessments of the potential for this historically documented coal resource, the world’s dominant fossil fuel source.”

Preliminary production volume designs are focusing on constructing four 1.42 billion m3/y phases to a final production of 5.66 billion m3/y of pipeline quality gas. Robert Findlay, VP has been assigned responsibility to develop a 25 year off-take agreement. WHD is also diligently working to develop its CO2 sequestration plans via markets for enhanced oil recovery and other co-products.

“West Hawk’s coal gasification initiative is the technology of choice for the world today and for the next several decades,” said Dr. Mark Hart, Company President, “as one can make clean electricity, pipeline quality gas, and a variety of co-products such as fertilizer while at the same time ensuring environmentally sustainable operations through product cleansing and planned reclamation initiatives. Coal gasification is a process that provides clean energy while meeting the KYOTO protocol’s current requirements and the projected mercury, carbon dioxide, and other heavy metal limits via its chemical cleaning process technology. Coal gasification is also cost competitive from a capital and operations/maintenance basis, and it is 5 to 10% more efficient than traditional methods of electricity energy production from pulverized coal production.”

The company’s Tate Lake property is adjacent to an EnCana oil pipeline and proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, a $7.5 billion mega-project being favoured by local interests for final conciliation. Compiled data from abundant coal outcrops along with the stratigraphic studies detailed within numerous historic reports released by Luscar, Utah Mines and Techman’s pre-feasibility study for Manalta Coal in 1979, have now been verified by the company’s geologists. Evaluation by the company’s engineers of the coal seams and overburden geology has aided development of a drill plan including early-stage mine plans with a projected potential for over 2 billion t of mineable coal. The company believes that this NWT property has potential to produce coal to gas (‘syngas’) for well beyond 50 years, providing one of the worlds cleanest fuel sources.