“The final quarter of the year was a significant period for the company, presenting considerable opportunities despite frustrations relating to certain delays in Pakistan,” said Memon in the update.
“Despite the prolonged process which we have experienced over the past nine months with the Ministry of Energy, I can say unequivocally that our Thar Block VI Project has never featured more prominently in the minds of key decision makers and government agencies in Pakistan, as the country looks to unlock the exceptional value of this strategic national asset.”
She continued: “We have witnessed a concerted enhancement in the role which coal can play in the context of both energy and food security and plans for the holistic development of Thar Block VI for power, gas and potentially liquid fuel, now feature as an integral component for sustainable development in the country. Last month, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Honourable Mr Imran Kahn, addressed the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on the country’s commitment and strategy to work towards lower carbon emissions. As part of this statement, he declared that Pakistan would rationalise the usage of coal for power, as evident in its decision to abort two coal-fired power plants, both of which were scheduled to use predominantly imported coal as feedstock.”
However, Memon pointed out that Khan also outlined the Pakistan Government’s strong support for developing its indigenous coal reserves, prioritising and initiating the development of coal to liquids and coal to gas projects.
These clean coal processes form an integral component of our development programme at Thar Block VI and will produce urea for use in fertiliser and liquid fuel to be used domestically, thereby reducing Pakistan’s reliance on imported fuel sources.
“The appetite within government ministries for developing a large-scale coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas industry in Thar is gaining momentum,” she said.
“I enjoyed a very productive meeting with the Minister of Energy within the Government of Sindh in mid-December. During this meeting we discussed items including the commencement of pre-feasibility work for coal-to-gas at Thar in collaboration with stakeholders, including engineering and research academia and the fertiliser industry. Other initiatives, including building a prototype coal to gas plant and holding various technical workshops led by our Consortium Partner, China National Coal Development Company (CNCDC), which is a world leader in coal development and integrated industries, have also been tabled.”
Memon also said that coal-to-gas feasibility work has begun.
“Our objective to establish a mine-mouth power plant at Thar remains an important aspect of our all-encompassing development strategy and in this vein, the process with the PPIB continues to move forward. However, a government review of national power planning and transmission systems, and some delays in CPEC government-to-government meetings, has created a backlog in applications. Working towards achieving progress on our power project in as short timeframe as possible remains our focus and I look forward to sharing more news with you as soon the government finalises its power production plans.”
She also highlighted the opportunities provided by Oracle’s new gold acquisition in Australia.
“From a strategic perspective, providing investors with exposure to the gold industry – particularly in a country which is widely recognised as one of the optimum mining jurisdictions globally – provides Oracle with a highly compelling new growth driver and project development in WA stands to move at a quick pace,” she said.
“Our acquisition of the Australian gold assets was not, and is not, a signal that our commitment or participation in Thar Block VI is in any way waning but rather, that we are planning now for a time when Oracle becomes a relatively small participant in what should become a project of internationally significant proportions.”
She also announced that she will be conducting a shareholder question and answer session, and that shareholders are invited to submit questions to Ms Memon by 5pm on January 14, 2021, via email at [email protected].