The ABC has a report on a proposed UCG (underground coal gasification) / coal to liquids project being promoted by Central Petroleum (whose pronouncements I tend to regard with a large degree of skepticism) - Company plans to tap world's biggest coal field.
An Australian company says a coal field discovered in the Simpson Desert could be the biggest in the world.
Central Petroleum Limited says it recently discovered the field in the south-east of the Northern Territory, about 300 kilometres from Alice Springs. It says the coal seam stretches across 400 kilometres.
The company has signed an agreement with Allied Resource Partners (ARP) to work towards setting up a coal production plant in the Great Artesian Basin area. ARP says the plan is to make liquid fuel without mining, by heating the coal underground, turning it into a gas, and then turning that gas into a liquid.
ARP spokesman David Shearwood says operations could last for 100 years because the field is so big. "It is an enormous quantity of coal," he said. "In our analysis, we can't find a bigger coal field on the planet."
He says the project would involve building a pipeline to Darwin and possibly one to South Australia.
The joint venture partners say they are seeking $300 million from investors to pay for a feasibility study that would include extensive exploration.