New Hope is planning on securing an alternative fuel supply for some of its operations by building a coal to diesel plant at the Jeebropilly mine in Queensland.
The company says it's building a small-scale research and development plant at the mine with the hope of providing a cheaper diesel fuel alternative.
A company spokesperson told the Queensland Times the first trials were expected in the fourth quarter of this year.
“It will process coal at a rate of about one tonne per hour and we expect it will synthesise up to about 300 litres of diesel for each tonne of coal which will be used by its mining operations,” they said.
The project is currently levelled at the 'proof of concept' stage, and New Hope said it had spent about $16 million over seven years developing the plant.
New Hope said the plant could pave the way for other industries to use the technology, and the process could also add value to smaller coal mining projects around Australia.
“These outcomes would provide social and economic benefits to the wider community, particularly in the future when demand for energy resources, such as oil, start to exceed supply,” New Hope said.
Despite the plant moving forward the local council said it had objections to the proposal but was given “no say” in the approval process.