EMD project doubles

HITEC Energy is expected to announce a partner for its proposed $237 million Electrofuel Project at Port Hedland by the end of year.

The most likely suitor is an overseas-based producer of Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD) – an electrofuel that gives portable batteries their power.

Managing director Mark Hansen will have further discussions with a producer of EMD in Japan next month about partnership in the project that has doubled in size.

An announcement could be made at the company’s annual meeting in Brisbane at the end of November.

Mr Hansen said there had also been negotiations with interests in Australia.

HiTec Energy announced at an extraordinary meeting of shareholders in Perth last month that planned production had doubled to 40,000 tonnes per annum with construction scheduled to start in March and production during late 2002.

The company has applied for more land at Port Hedland in addition to the 50 hectares granted by the State Government.

Expectations that HiTec Energy would announce a project partner pushed its share price to 17.5c before last month’s meeting. It was 11c earlier this week.

The proposal will employ 250 people during construction and about 114 when operational.

Mr Hansen said feasibility studies showed the plant could produce EMD much more competitively than the industry – by about US$300 a tonne.

He said the plant would have a negligible affect on the environment.

The Environment Protection Authority has announced it is satisfied there is no need for an external or public review of the proposal.

The increased scale of the proposal has improved the chances of goods being transported from Port Hedland rather being trucked to Fremantle for export.

HiTec Energy has appointed Chris Ward as general manager technical.

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