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British firm completes coke battery project

BRITISH-BASED natural resources firm, Contango Holdings PLC (CHP) has announced the completion of its first small-scale coke battery at the Lubu coal project in Hwange.

To facilitate testing by potential offtake partners and for the company’s internal investigations and quality control, the pilot coke plant has been built on-site to create coke from washed coking coal generated at Lubu.

It is expected that the ultimate coke batteries will be of a significantly greater size and different specification.

In a report issued early this month, CHP chief executive officer Carl Esprey said the completion of the plant would enable the company to achieve a higher production of coke.

“While the expected margins on our coking coal production are very attractive, we have always maintained the highest margin business stems from the manufacture of coke at Lubu. Accordingly, we have already completed numerous small-scale tests remotely to assess the coke characteristics from Lubu, with highly encouraging results,” he said.

“The completion of the pilot coke plant will now enable us to generate larger coke production for testing, something required to enable us to conclude discussions under our MoU [memorandum of understanding] and, as required, provide additional samples to other parties who have expressed interest in coke produced from Lubu.

“This is a notable step in the evolution of the Lubu project and I look forward to providing further updates with respect to the planned manufacture of coke in due course.”

After finishing the pilot plant last month, the firm began processing a sample of washed coking coal from Lubu — eventually producing about four tonnes of coke.

The multinational corporation that signed a MoU agreement in December 2022 with CHP will receive a sizeable percentage of this output.

This is done as part of their ongoing due diligence to ensure the product or service is suitable for their needs before moving forward with a prospective deal.

“As previously reported, to date, the manufacture of coke and subsequent studies from washed coking coal from Lubu has taken place remotely, with highly encouraging results,” CHP said.

“The ability to now manufacture coke on site is a significant step, providing accurate in the field results, a crucial step in securing partners in the Company’s coke manufacturing strategy.”

The firm reported that £7,5 million (US$9 025 359,24) was raised through a fundraising initiative in October 2022 at six pence (US$0,072) to support the Lubu coal project to achieve its first coking coal production in the first quarter of 2023. – (Newsday)

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