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Parkway Minerals’ (ASX:PWN) December quarterly report sets 2020 in motion
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  • Parkway Minerals (PWN) has purchased integrated Brine Causticisation (iBC) technology to help target the coal seam gas (CSG) sector
  • This technology will assist in the processing of high carbonate and bicarbonate brines found in the CSG industry
  • The iBC technology integrates with Parkway's aMES technology, assisting in the production of saleable products from pre-treated waste brine streams
  • Following the purchase, Parkway Minerals will relocate the iBC pilot plant to Victoria University, where a program will be undertaken
  • On market close, Parkway Minerals is up 33.3 per cent and is selling shares for 0.8 cents each

Parkway Minerals (PWN) has purchased integrated Brine Causticisation (iBC) technology to help target the coal seam gas (CSG) sector.

Background

In recent years, there has been a rapid emergence of CSG industry in Australia, bringing with it substantial volumes of wastewater as a result of heavy operation.

At present, Arrow Energy is developing a $10 billion CSG project in the Surat Basin in Queensland, which was announced last month. Shell and PetroChina have invested in this project.

Prior to this announcement, it was estimated that 60 gigaliters of associated water is produced annually in Queensland, with approximately 1700 gigaliters expected to be produced during the life of these projects.

Additional projects are also under construction around Australia, showing the growth of wastewater challenges.

In order to manage this wastewater, a range of conventional water treatment technologies, mainly reverse osmosis (RO) based desalination plants have been built, to recover freshwater.

During the desalination process, the recovery of freshwater results in the production of substantial quantities of concentrated reject brine, which shows significant ongoing storage and disposal related challenges.

The regulatory environment favours the beneficial use of the contained salts (estimated around 5.5 million tonnes). However, the production of saleable salts from the reject brine streams has currently proven to be uneconomic, due to the high costs of conventional brine evaporation and crystallisation technologies.

In addition, long-term storage of the waste also has significant costs and liabilities, which faces community concern.

Challenges with reverse osmosis

In the CSG sector, waste brines typically contain sodium chloride, carbonate and bicarbonate, as well as, a range of impurities such as calcium, magnesium and silica, which causes problems in the RO treatment.

iBC Technology

The iBC technology simultaneously removes many of the impurities in the water, including more than 80 per cent of the silica from the waste brine streams and converts the sodium carbonates and bicarbonates into more soluble sodium hydroxide stream.

Through this processing, the technology essentially produces a clean brine, which will be suitable for downstream processing with Parkway's aMES technology. This allows the production of saleable products, as opposed to mixed salts.

aMES Technology

Activated Mineral Extraction System (aMES) is an innovative process technology that can treat concentrated brine solutions to recover a range of valuable minerals, reagents and freshwater.

So where does aMES fit with iBC?

Pre-treatment of the waste brine streams with iBC technology allows the processing of the purified brine with aMES technology. This will allow the further concentration of the brine and produce a technical grade sodium hydroxide solution and crystalline sodium chloride product.

Acquisition Details

This purchase of the iBC provides Parkway Minerals with the opportunity to target high-value applications in the CSG sector and other related industries with similar wastewater streams.

Parkway Minerals has purchased the technology with an upfront cost of eight million shares and $4500 payment plus GST. Additionally, $50,000 in shares will be issued on the 12 month anniversary of this purchase.

There is also a contingent payment of up to $80,000 shares in Parkway Minerals, which will be payable on certain iBC milestones.

Inventor, John Worsley will assist in the commercialisation of the iBC technology.

Managing Director Bahay Ozcakmak said during the last year Parkway Minerals has been approached by a number of CSG industry participants.

"Despite encouraging historical results in processing these types of brines by
Parkway Minerals and our partners, to date, we have not actively pursued wastewater processing applications in the CSG sector, as we previously identified two key challenges, first, the pre-treatment (removal of impurities) of the brines appeared highly problematic, and second, the business case for recovering saleable products, and reducing disposal costs, appeared challenged," he said.

Next Steps

Parkway Minerals will be relocating the iBC pilot plant to Victoria University, where a detailed technology optimisation and integration program will be undertaken to support ongoing business development activities.

"Given our recently established process engineering team, engineering & technical office colocated at Victoria University and our strategic partnership with Victoria University, we believe Parkway Minerals is well placed to commercialise the iBC technology on a stand-alone basis and to integrate with the aMES technology, where it makes sense to do so," Bahay told the market.

"Based on our preliminary internal evaluations, we believe there is a $20-50 million a year opportunity available, should waste brines be effectively processed, and the contained salts sold, compared to the current CSG industry-standard of onsite storage and monitoring (and accumulated liabilities)," he added.

On market close, Parkway Minerals is up 33.3 per cent and is selling shares for 0.8 cents each.

PWN by the numbers
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