Macarthur Minerals Ltd has signed a strategic partnership and collaboration agreement with LAVO Hydrogen Technology Holding that could see the mine developer use LAVO’s hydrogen energy battery system on site at its flagship Lake Giles Iron project in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia.
The agreement will see the companies investigate the facilitation of a staged technology solution that is intended to deliver a clear carbon reduction strategy for Lake Giles, with a first phased roll-out to support Macarthur’s intended early hematite direct shipment ore (DSO) mining operations at Ularring.
LAVO uses an innovative, patented metal hydride to produce hydrogen energy batteries. The battery system acts as a solar sponge, integrating with solar arrays to capture and store renewable energy for use when needed. The unit creates hydrogen from water, stores the hydrogen into LAVO’s patented metal hydride and generates electricity by converting hydrogen into power, according to the companies.
LAVO’s cornerstone investors are ESG investment firm Providence Asset Group (PAG) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Together with UNSW, PAG established the Hydrogen Energy Research Centre (HERC). HERC is a leading university-industry partnership in hydrogen technologies with a main purpose of translating the university’s leading research in hydrogen production, storage and use into real world commercial products under the brand name ‘LAVO’.
Under the agreement, the first phase of collaboration is expected to involve Macarthur being assigned between three to five patented LAVO 40 kWh hydrogen storage units for integration into the remote worker accommodation facilities, which are planned to be constructed to support a DSO mining operation at Ularring.
Subject to successful project definition and satisfactory supporting economics being assessed, the LAVO hydrogen storage units could be installed on site at Ularring as early as the December quarter of this year.
If the trial program at Ularring is successful, then Macarthur and LAVO intend to examine opportunities to develop a fully localised micro-grid engineering solution that includes a solar photovoltaic array, a centralised hydrogen hydride containerised storage system and appropriately sized fuel cell to support the energy requirements for Macarthur’s planned high grade magnetite iron ore mine at Lake Giles, following successful delivery of the company’s current feasibility study. This could involve the integration of larger, containerised ‘HEOS’ hydrogen energy batteries with up to 13 MWh of capacity (currently being developed by LAVO), potentially delivering energy to Macarthur’s magnetite operations at a commercial scale.
Alan Yu, CEO of LAVO, said: “Macarthur Mineral’s pursuit to decarbonise mining and provide resources for green steel production is market leadership and an endeavour that LAVO is excited to be involved with. We are demonstrating our LAVO hydrogen hydride technology has practical, environmental and economically viable applications that extend from residential to significant mining projects.
“The potential for energy independence in the mining sector will reduce costly capital works and leverage the current transport gateways to drive profitable growth and improve environmental impacts.”
Andrew Bruton, CEO of Macarthur Minerals, said: “Macarthur is pleased to be partnering with LAVO on this ground-breaking initiative. Macarthur plans to roll-out integration of LAVO hydrogen storage units at Ularring to support intended early DSO hematite mining operations.
“This collaboration is also aimed at enabling Macarthur to achieve a clear carbon reduction strategy for its planned future magnetite operations at Moonshine, as it can allow for potential integration with magnetite processing on a modularised and gradual ‘scale up’ basis over a target five-to-10-year time horizon.”
He added: “By adopting this staged approach and becoming an ‘early follower’, rather than a ‘first adopter’, Macarthur will have the opportunity to contain technology, capital and pricing risk so as to ensure that it achieves the lowest possible levelised cost of energy delivery for its magnetite processing.”