Eco Investor Update

A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors

21 February 2011 - No 21

ASX 100

APA Group
A draft decision by the Australian Energy Regulator allows APA Group to raise network charges on its APT Allgas gas distribution network in southern Queensland by 8 per cent in 2011 and by an average of 3 per cent per year in later years to 2016.

"The effect on retail tariffs, of which distribution network charges make up approximately 60 per cent, is a real increase of around 5 per cent as at 1 July 2011. Real increases in subsequent years would average around 2 per cent per annum," it said.

Customers' annual bills will increase by an average by $20 each year. The AER said the increase would have been $28 each year if it had accepted APT Allgas's proposal in full.

APT Allgas has until 23 March 2011 to respond to the draft decision.

The AER set a rate of return for APT Allgas of 10 per cent, which is lower than the 10.3 per cent proposed by APA.

The APT Allgas network serves 79,000 residential customers in southern Brisbane, regional centres including Toowoomba and Gold Coast, and around 5,000 commercial and industrial customers. (ASX: APA)

DUET Group reported a 35.9 per cent fall in net profit after tax to $60.6 million for the December half year compared to the December 2009 half.

DUET said this was mainly due to an 18 per cent increase in interest charges, a 17 per cent increase in depreciation and amortization, and its $6.7 million net share of interest rate hedge break costs by Duquesne.

The Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline, assisted by the stage 5B expansion, and United Energy, assisted by the smart meter rollout, continued to drive DUET's top line performance, said chief executive, Peter Barry.

Earnings per stapled security were down 11 per cent to 11.9 cents, which will fully cover the 10 cent interim distribution.

Mr Barry retires as chief executive on 25 February and will be replaced by David Bartholomew, DUET's chief financial officer.

John Roberts, executive chairman of Macquarie Funds Management, will replace Philip Garling as chairman. Mr Garling, who is Global Head of Infrastructure AMPCI, stays on as a director.

The Victorian Smart Meter Rollout Program has now installed 500 000 smart meters, and also identified and helped Victorian consumers repair thousands of electricity defects, said Shane Breheny, chairman of the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which represents Victoria's electricity distribution and transmission businesses.

Smart meter installers have so far found about 3500 homes with electrical defects around the meter board, and more than a third of these had to be immediately disconnected for safety reasons.

The 500,000 smart meters are part of 2.8 million meters going in to all Victorian homes and businesses by the end of 2013, in line with the mandate of the Victorian Government. United Energy is part of that process. (ASX: DUE)

Origin Energy
Origin Energy subsidiary Origin Energy Kenya Pty Ltd is to divest a 50 per cent interest in a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) for petroleum exploration and production at Block L8 in the Lamu Basin offshore from Kenya. The sale is to a subsidiary of US based Apache Corporation.

On completion of the conditional sale, Origin will hold a 25 per cent interest in the PSC and Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL another 25 per cent. Origin will be reimbursed historical costs of US$13.2 million and Apache will become operator of the PSC. Apache will also meet part of Origin's costs of an exploration well to be drilled in Block L8 on the Mbawa structure.

Origin's executive general manager, Geoscience & Exploration New Ventures, Dr Rob Willink, said offshore East Africa has become an industry focus for exploration as a result of recent deepwater gas discoveries offshore from Tanzania and Mozambique.

Block L8 comprises 5,123 square kilometres with attractive exploration opportunities that include several large objectives. Prospectivity of the block centres on the Mbawa structure, a large but complexly faulted anticline mapped on 3D seismic data with potential for both oil and gas at inferred Cretaceous and Jurassic reservoir levels, he said. (ASX: ORG)

Sims Metal Management
Sims Metal Management reported a net half year profit after tax of $49.3 million, up 24 per cent on the December 2009 half. Basic earnings per share were 24.1 cents, up 13 per cent.

Sales revenue rose 17 per cent to $3.9 billion. The company said it also enjoyed improved margins and better controlled operating expenses.

Unrealised commodity hedge losses impacted the half year by $12 million. The adverse impact of foreign exchange translation reduced sales, earnings (EBIT), net profit after tax and earnings (EBITDA) by 8 per cent, 10 per cent, 10 per cent and 9 per cent respectively compared to the December 2009 half year, said the company.

The interim dividend is 12 cents per share 42 per cent franked. (ASX: SGM)

ASX 200

Eastern Star Gas
Eastern Star Gas managing director David Casey says the company has sufficient cash reserves to fund front end engineering and design work (FEED) for the LNG Newcastle (LNGN) Project and a feasibility study on the development of the Narrabri Coal Seam Gas Project.

"We have no plans to seek fresh funds from our shareholders in the near term," he said. "In August last year we raised $100 million in an oversubscribed placement. As we said at that time, those funds will be used to complete feasibility studies and progress FEED on the LNGN project, as well as acquire the LNGN land and cover ongoing drilling, development and corporate costs. Of these, the FEED and feasibility work is expected to cost around $35 million.

"The amount of FEED, feasibility and other costs that ESG ultimately bears will depend on the nature and timing of changes to the ownership structure of the projects. ESG has the flexibility to sell-down some of its existing upstream interest and potentially all of its LNGN interest."

Mr Casey said the feasibility study outcomes are in line with expectations that the LNGN Project's first 1 million tonnes per annum of capacity will cost around $1 billion, including the LNG storage tank and the export jetty. This is competitive terms with larger projects after completion of their second LNG train.

The feasibility study for the Narrabri CSG Project will determined the option for upstream development and take the project to the FEED stage. It will determine whether to use electric versus gas engine drives for compressors, and the best technology for water handling. It will also optimize the timing and design of well drilling and drilling rig requirements, along with the location of compression and processing facilities.

The company is willing to make some upstream gas field and LNGN Project interests available to offtakers of the LNG.

Commercializing the Narrabri CSG Project is the company's number one priority, said Mr Casey. "We aim to be in a position to commit to development of the project by early 2012. To do this we need to complete the upstream gas field feasibility and FEED, have gas pipeline arrangements in place, have markets committed and have all government approvals in place, including environmental approvals." (ASX: ESG)

Envestra sais it will embark on a multi-million dollar investment program for its gas networks in South Australia and Queensland that includes the progressive replacement of about 1,300 kilometres of ageing gas pipes across both networks.

The announcement follows the Australian Energy Regulator's (AER) Draft Decisions on Envestra's Access Arrangements for the gas distribution networks, which represent 50 per cent of the company's business.

Envestra's managing director, Ian Little, said "Overall, the Draft Decisions pave the way for Envestra to double its capital investment in the two networks over the next five years to around $600 million.

"The Decisions also mean that revenue over the five-year period from 2011 to 2016 would
be around $1.3 billion, an increase of almost 30 per cent relative to the previous regulatory period."

The Draft decision for the South Australian network proposes a 9.96 per cent nominal post tax rate of return over the five years commencing 1 July 2011, network tariffs changes of CPI plus 7.5 per cent on 1 July 2011 and an average of CPI plus 5 per cent per annum thereafter.

Revenue of $165.6 million in 2011-12 will increase to $228.3 million in 2015-16 and total $983.1 million over the five years.

In Queensland, the Draft Decision proposes a 9.96 per cent nominal post tax rate of return, with network tariffs rises of CPI plus 3.26 per cent on 1 July 2011 and an average of CPI plus 2.5 per cent per year thereafter.

Revenue of $52.2 million in 2011-12 would increase to $67.2 million in 2015-16 and total $299.2 million over the five years. (ASX: ENV)

GWA Group
An improving housing market helped GWA Group lift revenue and earnings for the December half.

Net profit after tax from continuing operations was $33.2 million, up 20 per cent from $27.7 million. Earnings per share rose 19 per cent to 11 cents per share. The interim fully franked dividend remains at 9.5 cents per share.

Revenue rose by 13 per cent to $368 million. Underlying demand increased by 4 per cent with the Brivis acquisition adding another 9 per cent to revenue.

Managing director Peter Crowley said "This is a good result with improvements in housing activities flowing through to increased revenues and margins. It is particularly strong given the sales decline in December due to adverse weather along the eastern seaboard.

"We benefited from government stimulus spending on public housing and the Building Education Revolution program (BER), but this was offset by a sharp decline in Dux environmental water heating products with lower government rebates."

Sales by the Heating and Cooling segment increased 20 per cent with the inclusion of Brivis but earnings (EBIT) fell 16 per cent from $8.5 million to $7.1 million due to the decline in sales of Dux environmental water heaters.

Mr Crowley said "The water heating market has been a roller coaster of change for the lost three years as Federal and State Governments have constantly changed policy and regulatory settings. We have steps in place to lower our costs, with the Moss Vale factory upgrade and new product development to help us deliver more competitive product offerings in gas heating."

The full year earnings (EBIT) forecast is in the range of $105 to $111 million including the Gliderol acquisition. (ASX: GWA)

Lynas Corporation
Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc has increased its substantial holding in Lynas Corporation from 8.39 per cent to 9.39 per cent since early December. The increase appears to be part of an extensive daily trading program. (ASX: LYC)

ASX 300

Galaxy Resources
Creat Resources has had its substantial stake in Galaxy Resources diluted from 19.99 to 17.78 per cent as a consequence of Galaxy issuing shares to Fengli Group (Hong Kong) Co. Limited, which now holds a 10.07 per cent interest.

The Fengli shares were part of a $91.5 million capital raising that included $19 million in convertible bonds and a $30 million equity placement with Fengli Group. The shares were issued at $1.39 each.

The capital raising proceeds are to ramp-up the program at Mt Cattlin, finish construction of the Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate Project, and working capital.

In welcoming the new bond holders and shareholders, Galaxy Resources' managing director, Iggy Tan, said "We see this significant investment as a testament to the company's growth potential and its strategy of becoming a vertically integrated lithium company, involved in raw product lithium production, through to chemical processing and lithium-ion battery manufacturing."

Galaxy has also signed the farm-in and joint venture agreement with Lithium One Inc. of Canada to acquire up to 70 per cent of the James Bay Lithium Pegmatite Project in Quebec. (ASX: GXY)

Geodynamics has completed the acquisition of Geothermal Exploration Licence 268 (GEL 268) from Clean Energy Australasia Pty Ltd. Consideration was 1.5 million Geodynamics shares.

Geodynamics said GEL 268 is highly prospective for its Enhanced Geothermal Systems and Hot Sedimentary Aquifer exploration potential, and complements its flagship Cooper Basin EGS Project.

GEL 268 is 497 square kilometres and joins Geodynamics' exploration areas in South Australia and Queensland. It expands Geodynamics' geothermal acreage to 3,059 square kilometres. (ASX: GDY)

Tassal Group
Tassal Group has delivered a net profit after tax of $14 million for the December half year. This is a 7.1 per cent decrease on the December 2009 result.

The net profit was lower due to higher depreciation following the significant investment in hatchery and marine assets over the last three years, higher borrowing costs due to the financing of infrastructure and increased fish biomass, and a higher effective tax rate.

Revenue rose 7.9 per cent to $222.6 million. The growth was due to domestic market growth from Tassal's retail segment strategy, a return to growth in export markets, and continued growth in the fair value of Tassal's live fish.

Managing director and chief executive, Mark Ryan, said that the performance reflected the continued long term sustainable growth of Tassal's operations.

"Tassal has now completed a period of significant infrastructure investment that underpins the company's long term growth under its Strategic Plan FY2015. Capital expenditure decreased over the first half of the 2011 financial year and there will be a significant reduction going forward.

"Importantly Tassal now has world class hatchery, marine and processing facilities with the benefits starting to be clearly evident. The smolt input season is now two months shorter, smolt put to sea is significantly larger, fish size is larger, and cost reductions and throughput efficiencies are now evident from an operational perspective.

"Given the successful investment in infrastructure, and the resulting strong performance of the 2010 Year Class to be harvested in 2012, there is the potential to bring forward some of the forecast benefits of the Strategic Plan FY2015. In particular, there is the potential to bring forward the benefits of the company's increased production capacity, including reduced growing costs targeted for FY2013 to FY2012," he said. (ASX: TGR)

Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund
Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund reported an increase in net profit afer tax for the December half year of $12 million to $18.1 million.

The result benefited from a $14.7 million earnings contribution from the extension of the Macarthur concession to 2030.

However revenue from continuing operations was down 15.7 per cent to $65.7 million. This was explained by disappointing Renewable Energy Certificate prices, lower generation at Starfish Hill wind farm, a contracted step down in capacity payment at Townsville Power Station, non-achievement of continuous operations at Collinsville Power Station and weekend operations at Townsville Power Station, and fewer starts at Kemerton Power Station compared to a strong 2009 first half year.

The Fund said contracted assets, which represent the majority of TSI Fund's portfolio, performed in line with expectations. "Whilst contracted wind farms performed to expectations, our only uncontracted wind farm, Starfish Hill, did not as it was exposed to disappointing black and REC prices," said the Fund.

TSI fund chief executive officer, Steve Loxton, said "Our long-term contracted power generation assets benefit from stable cashflows and were therefore largely insulated from the challenging market conditions experienced during the half. Strong cash generation during the period allowed us to further reduce our outstanding debt, giving us greater financial flexibility."

Net debt was reduced by $10.6 million to $451.7 million as at 31 December, and book gearing fell to 51 per cent.

"Over the medium to long-term we expect Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) prices to improve, however, the current oversupply may compromise our ability to re-contract Starfish Hill Wind Farm in the short-term," said Mr Loxton.

The Fund declared will pay an interim distribution of 4.1 cents per security in line with guidance. (ASX: TSI)

Emerging Companies

Clean TeQ Holdings
Shares in Clean TeQ Holdings hit an all time low of 5.6 cents the day the company announced its December half results.

The company made a loss after tax of $1.48 million compared to a December 2010 profit of $733,000. The half year loss was the first in its history.

Revenue more than halved, falling $5 million to $3.3 million, while depreciation and amortization rose from $1.1 million to $1.9 million.

Chief executive officer Peter Voigt said the half year had been one of the most difficult trading periods in the company's 21 year history.

"The Air Division has had its most challenging period since it began operating in 1990. The market place is now highly cost competitive with Chinese manufactured products being utilized over locally fabricated components. Additionally, a number of projects have been put on hold."

To improve performance, the Air Division remains focused on sales and is seeing an increased pipeline of opportunities. To be price competitive, it is moving to a business model where complete manufacturing of products will be in Asia. The division also made some redundancies.

Mr Voigt said "The focus of our Water and Mining Divisions has been to seek a strategic partner to accelerate the commercialization of our extensive intellectual property portfolio. To this end we engaged in negotiations with a major global mining services company but these negotiations were not successful due to a difference in strategic alignment.'

The Water Division has continued to develop the application of the company's Clean-iX ion exchange technology as a pre-treatment for reverse osmosis desalination that can reduce energy usage and operating costs and increase yields. Clean TeQ has filed a new patent for the application of the technology in water desalination.

During the period, construction of the company's Clean-iX water demonstration plant was completed and it is now at the commissioning and test phase.

Not all divisions did poorly. "UV-Guard, our water disinfection business, has continued to generate increased recurrent revenue and strong profits during the period as predicted," he said.

"Over the past 6 months the our Mining Division has continued to work on five pre-feasibility studies predominantly for uranium projects. It is our current expectation that some of these studies could lead to Clean TeQ designing, constructing and commissioning full scale ion exchange plants which incorporate our proprietary technology. We have recently applied for a patent in the application of our ion exchange technology for the extraction of uranium from highly saline environments. We expect that this technology could be of large economic benefit in many in-situ and heap leach applications where the availability of fresh water is a major limitation," said Mr Voigt.

The re-emergence of strong prices in the base metals, vanadium and gold markets and the emergence of rare earth elements should see the opportunity for the application of ion exchange technologies increase, he said.

Looking forward, Mr Voigt said "Whilst the company expects the rest of the 2011 financial year to be challenging, the number of projects in the pipeline for the Air Division provides us with confidence that this Division will lead the business' recovery." The Division is looking at expanding beyond Australia.

"We understand that in order for our Mining Division to reach its full potential we must partner with a mining related business that will provide our technology with greater access to the market and mitigate the technical and financial risk in the eyes of our customers. We are currently in discussions with a major global industry participant.

"Our water business is essentially a start up business where we are focusing on the desalination of groundwater sources including coal seam gas produced water. Over the next 12 months we will continue to focus on these key areas as we leverage off the expected positive results of the Clean-iX Demonstration Plant. We believe that the company can generate substantial returns if it is successful in this area of the water market.

"UV-Guard Australia has maintained its strong performance over the period and continues to win new customers across Australia. UV-Guard New Zealand received its first major orders during the period. It entered into a long term agreement to supply ultra violet disinfection systems, spare parts, lamps and technical services to one of New Zealand's leading water treatment suppliers. This long-term contract underpins the future success of this business unit.

"We expect that both the Australian and New Zealand UV-Guard businesses will continue to be strong over the next 12 months," said Mr Voigt.

As at 31 December the company had cash of $1.947 million. (ASX: CLQ)

Hydromet Corporation
Hydromet Corporation made a profit after tax of $1.33 million for the six to 31 December 2010, compared to $760,000 for the December 2009 half.

The interim dividend is 0.075 cent per share.

The company said revenue continued to improve during the half year with productivity across both the battery recycling and selenium production plants exceeding forecast.

"Demand for our Lead, Selenium and Tellurium remains high with predicted output for the 2011 calendar year already placed with customers," it said.

Commodity prices recovered from mid year lows and reached a steady and sustained level over the period, it said.

"The Board expects conditions to remain steady through the June half year with the focus on maximizing plant throughput and optimization of processes and costs. Negotiations are continuing to source additional Selenium bearing feed for the Newcastle facility to match improved plant capacity modifications introduced in the December half year," said the company.

"We expect competition for batteries to remain high in the year ahead as we settle on optimum throughput and customer demand." (ASX: HMC)

Solco reported a fall in net profit after tax for the December 2010 half to $0.92 million from $1.55 million for the corresponding 2009 half year. The result was despite a 71 per cent rise in revenue to $25.38 million.

The revenue growth was primarily driven by demand for increased installation of domestic solar photovoltaic systems across Australia.

Executive chairman David Richardson said he was pleased the company had continued to increase sales volume and top line growth despite a reduction in solar panel pricing, lowering government subsidies and a continued strong Australian dollar.

"We are continuing to cement our position as a leading wholesale supplier and importer of solar panels by building upon our national sales capabilities, solidifying our supplier arrangements and agreement, continuously extending our product range and improving our delivery mechanisms," he said.

Mr Richardson said that cost parity for solar PV energy production is approaching.

"Current expectations show that the solar PV market should achieve 300 megawatts for calendar year 2011, as compared with an estimated 200 megawatts in 2010. Product price reductions and increasing energy costs, allied with continuing government and community support of the solar sector, is expected to drive increasing demand over the next period."

The interim dividend is up 50 per cent to 0.375 cents per share. (ASX: SOO)

Micro Cap Companies

Aeris Environmental
Aeris Environmental is looking for a new chief executive after it announced that the incumbent, Huw Jones, who is also an executive director, will be leaving the company on 31 March to pursue other business interests.

Aeris reported a net loss after tax for the December half of $838,016. The December 2009 loss was $1.2 million. (ASX: AEI)

BioProspect has raised $3 million in capital, improved distribution for two of its products, and appointed a new director.

The $3 million in capital after costs was raised by private placement to support the commercialization of REGEN therapeutics and AGRIPRO natural animal health products.

The new shares were issued at 1 cent each and with each share investors received a free option that expires on 31 December 2013 and has an exercise price of 3 cents.

Managing director Charles Pellegrino said "This placement indicates the continued investor interest in our natural health products and solid support for our commercialization efforts.

The raising followed the February 15 announcement of a new distribution agreement for REGEN therapeutics for Australia and New Zealand, progressing commercialization of the DEMURE and L'AZURE natural skin care and cosmetic ranges and ongoing development of AGRIPRO products including GI-GUARD Oral Paste.

The funds from the private placement will be used for market development programs, working capital and evaluation of potential investment opportunities following a number of recent unsolicited approaches, said the company.

The expansion of the REGEN range is via a distribution agreement with Doward International and the launch of new products.

Doward International's Gary Goodman said "Doward International is pleased to have added REGEN to our established quality product range, which is one of the most comprehensive in the Australian retail pharmacy sector. We anticipate solid growth in demand for the REGEN therapeutic range."

REGEN will now be on the shelves of leading pharmacies across Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Pellegrino said the agreement with Doward International should ensure continued growth in cash flow from REGEN. "The REGEN business continues to pick up momentum, having achieved more than $100,000 in sales over recent months, and we anticipate the Doward International agreement will ensure long-lasting benefits to this Australian brand."

New products including pain management and topical healing treatments are under development as part of an expanded therapeutic range, led by the flagship REGEN Pain Relief Spray.

The company's GI-GUARD Oral Paste for horses has cleared another regulatory hurdle. An application for registration with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has been accepted.

BioProspect's chief operating officer, Peter May, said the application had been accepted through screening under a Category 2 classification (veterinary chemical products containing a new active constituent) with a review period for product chemistry of 10 months.

"This marks a considerable milestone in the development of this new natural Australian horse treatment, allowing commencement of the registration review process for the active constituent and product chemistry submission," he said.

BioProspect has appointed Jacob Khouri as a non-executive director. The son of major shareholder Elias Khouri, Mr Khouri he has been a director of Gun Capital Corporate and Gun Capital Management and been involved with associated ASX-listed company Cape Lambert Iron Limited, among others.

He also founded and operates a mechanical engineering business designing and constructing custom-made off-road vehicles for recreational and commercial use. (ASX: BPO)

Carnegie Wave Energy
Carnegie Wave Energy has appointed Greg Bourne as a non executive director. Mr Bourne was previously chief executive officer of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Australia.

He has also been president of BP Australasia where he was responsible for their refinery operations. During this time, he oversaw significant growth in their solar photovoltaic business.

Prior to this, Mr Bourne held president and general manager roles for BP in Latin America, Scotland and Australia. He is on a number of Australian Government advisory committees and has been a special adviser to former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher on energy and transportation issues.

He has a Honours degree in Chemistry and an honourary doctorate from the University of Western Australia.

Mr Bourne said "I am confident that the CETO wave technology will not only prove to be a technical and commercial winner but will also be adopted widely."

Following the appointment of Clive Callister as a representative of Carnegie's major shareholder Renewable Energy Holdings Plc (REH) in November 2010, Mike Proffitt has resigned from the Carnegie Board as an REH representative. (ASX: CWE)

The rollout of EcoQuest's biodegradable nappies continues with largest independent supermarket chain in NSW, Franklins, now stocking the product. Franklins will sell the Little Takas range of biodegradable disposable nappies and baby wipes in all of its 80 stores throughout the state.

The deal means the nappies are now on sale in about 400 retail outlets around the country. (ASX: ECQ)

Eden Energy
The first US bus to run on Hythane will begin operation at the New York town of Hempstead. The Ford E-450 shuttle runs on Hythane fuel, a blend of 80 per cent natural gas and 20 per cent hydrogen by volume. Eden Energy said it is the first implementation of the calibration for this vehicle in the US, setting an example for future projects.

The calibration was developed by Hythane and BAF Technologies, and is now available as a standard order though BAF.

The shuttle will be used for the town's Senior Enrichment Program. Eden Energy said the vehicle will provide a 10.5 per cent reduction in CO2, a 40 per cent reduction in non-methane hydrocarbons, a 49 per cent reduction in CH4 emissions, and a 70 per cent reduction in particulate matter over the natural gas version of the engine.

The same vehicle calibration will be used for Hythane Company's San Francisco Airport (SFO) fueling project. The SFO is set to begin construction this year, and will have up to 27 of these vehicles in operation.

"With a standard offering for a vehicle, Hythane projects are much easier to implement," said Roger Marmaro, chief executive of Hythane. (ASX: EDE)

Hot Rock
Hot Rock has commenced its first major exploration program in Chile on recently granted tenements. The move follows completion of community and landowner meetings and the granting of land access at two project areas.

The company said helicopter supported, geochemical and magneto-telluric (MT) geophysical surveys have commenced over the Longavi project and when completed, the crew will move onto the Calerias project, both south of Santiago.

HRL's managing director, Peter Barnett, is overseeing the exploration programs.

A reconnaissance survey in January has led to the discovery of a number of new hot springs of 50o to 67oC associated with the survey area at Calerias.

Both projects are between 30 to 60 kilometres from the central Chilean transmission grid and the large power market connected to it.

Dr Mark Elliott, executive chairman of Hot Rock, said "We expect from the geochemical and MT results to be able to estimate the inferred resource generation capacity of these two projects within the next quarter, and put HRL well on the way to its first potential geothermal plant development in Chile." (ASX: HRL)

MediVac expects the first unit of its new MM 240 SSS clinical waste converter to be completed in March.

The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health for a minimum of 25 and possibly 30 of the new MetaMizer 240 SSS clinical waste remediation devices.

Potential revenue could be up to $15 million. A final proposal will be submitted this month. (ASX: MDV)

Mission NewEnergy
Mission NewEnergy has won a global tender by Chevron Technologies Ventures to supply crude Jatropha oil into the US.

Mission will initially supply Chevron with 3,000 gallons of crude Jatropha oil as part of Chevron's exploration into the long-term use of the product as feedstock for the production of renewable diesel.

"We understand that upon successful completion of tests that Chevron is interested in long term supply agreements," said James Garton, president Mission NewEnergy USA.

The Chevron announcement follows the crude Jatropha oil sales announced on 22 October 2010 to one of Europe's largest power companies for energy generation, and on 15 December 2010 to a major European customer for use as a sustainable fuel.

"As one of the largest non-food, sustainable biofuels feedstock companies, Mission is well positioned to address the shortage of sustainable feedstock either for production of biodiesel, renewable diesel or as renewable fuel for power plants. Non food feedstock grown on marginal land remains the key to sustainable biofuels" said Nathan Mahalingam, Mission's chief executive.

In the US, the Renewable Fuels Standard requires the use of one billion gallons of biodiesel per year from January 2011, which will likely result in demand for over 1 billion gallons per year of feedstock material. With increasing pressure on food supplies, Mission's non-food based feedstock is fetching a substantial premium above other biofuels and feedstocks, said the company.

The premium pricing for this deal is in excess of Mission's recent crude Jatropha oil sales.

"We believe that the continued premium increase for crude Jatropha oil can be explained by the global short supply of sustainable biofuels feedstock. Over the next 30 years, the existing acreage currently under cultivation by Mission's contract farmers is expected to produce an estimated 22 million barrels of sustainable non-food oil supply."

Meanwhile, Mission made a loss after tax for the first six months of 2010-11 of $14 million, up from $12.5 million for the 2009 first half.

The company has called a general meeting to vote on a share consolidation to facilitate listing on NASDAQ, the proposed issuing of new shares to raise between US$20 million and US$65 million. and the issue of new convertible notes in exchange for existing convertible notes. (ASX: MBT)

Petratherm and its partners, Beach Energy and TRUenergy, say they are encouraged by the results of the Stage 1 Injectivity test performed during the Christmas-New Year period at Paralana in South Australia.

The test resulted in successful fracturing of rock during the trial. Monitoring equipment detected over 140 microseismic events during the injection. The company said these events are 10,000 times smaller than seismic events felt in earthquakes.

The injection extended over 300 metres from the wellbore.

On completion of the injection, the measured well head pressure was more than 4,000 psi, said PetraTherm. "The high pressure may suggest connection to pre-existing overpressure contained in the reservoir rock or could be due to gradual equilibration due to the low permeability nature of the rock," it said.

The main stimulation scheduled for mid to late March. Apparent connection to over-pressured zone will be confirmed during the main stimulation.

The Stage 2 fracture stimulation involves the injection of larger volume of fracturing fluid at higher rates to create an extensive fracture network over 500 metres in length and to connect to and enhance the existing natural fracture network intersected by the well. (ASX: PTR)

Phoslock Water Solutions
Phoslock Water Solutions has signed an initial two year distribution agreement with Canadian environmental company, GDG Environnement, covering the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia.

The agreement includes annual purchase obligations.

PWS general manager for North America, Eddie Edmunds, said GDG is a good fit for Phoslock as it has significant expertise and coverage for blue-green algae impacted water bodies.

"GDG has recently developed biosensors to detect cyanobacteria toxins, the blue-green algae that threaten the safety of drinking water all over the world. Application of Phoslock is an environmentally safe and effective means of starving the algae of nutrients thereby improving water quality" he said.

GDG Environment has a team of around 200 professionals and technicians, two highly specialized laboratories at its head office in Quebec, and with a major research institute is establishing a third laboratory specializing in nanotechnology and biosensors. (ASX: PHK)

Reclaim Industries
Reclaim Industries has had administrators appointed and its shares suspended. No further details were given.

The tyre recycler and rubber products maker has had low cash issues. At 31 December it had cash of only $99,000 and a quarterly net operating cash outflow of $318,000. This was despite customer receipts for the quarter of $3.1 million and $7.9 million for the half year. (ASX: RCM)

Solverdi Worldwide
Solverdi Worldwide, which had voluntary administrators appointed and entered a Deed of Company Arrangement last September, is planning a recapitalization and aims to release a prospectus to coincide with a company meeting to be called in the coming weeks.

The meeting will vote on the prospectus, the consolidation of capital and directors. (ASX: SWW)

Water Resources Group
Desalination technology developer Water Resources Group has finalized a Joint Venture Business Development Agreement with KATARAT Altkiar of Saudi Arabia. The company said this marks an important step in its aim to provide clean water solutions in water-stressed countries.

WRG said it puts it within reach of implementing its low-cost, low-energy, and chemical-free desalination technology in a key global market.

HRH Prince Faisal Al Saud, who is also chairman and major shareholder of the Joint Venture Company (Saudi/WRI) established to develop desalination projects in the Kingdom, said "My engineers from KATARAT Alkhiar, Ahmad Hidah and Ahmad M Alghambi, have confirmed that the unique applications of WRG's desalination system, both economically and environmentally, will ensure that our joint venture can secure significant water desalination contracts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"We have selected four projects as our first business opportunities and look forward to a successful 2011 through executing these development plans."

WRG said the prince signed the joint venture business development plan after he and his engineers inspected WRG's commercial scale demonstration plant in Sacramento, California.

Water Resources International is a 49 per cent partner in the joint venture.

WRG's chief executive, Murray Vitlich, said "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest desalination market in the world and presents the joint venture with numerous opportunities
for our chemical free, modular desalination system.

"This development plan, and the process leading to this agreement, further highlights the progress we made last year with the completion of our demonstration facility. As an Australian company, we now have the ability to showcase our Company's environmentally safe desalination technology and unique low-cost system design in the global marketplace." (ASX: WRG)

Eco Investor Update





Search Eco Investor