Queensland electric services company, Locality Planning Energy Holdings (ASX:LPE) has raised $7.5m by way of a placement to fund its participation in a BioHub project in Bundaberg, Queensland.

The staged development will unleash the power of biogas, hydrogen, and solar to fuel industry and support networks with a targeted completion date set for 12 months, LPE said.

LPE will be the electricity retailer for the BioHub, billing the renewable energy behind the meter and interfacing with the wholesale market to import and export any shortfall or excess energy.

The BioHub is a large, embedded network generating renewable energy from solar, battery, biogas, and hydrogen on site, with the company funding $5 million in capital works.

The attractiveness of the opportunity is twofold – LPE will be better aligned with larger-scale renewable generation and will have the option to convert $3 million of its Capital Works Funds into a 50% ownership interest in the on-site crypto miner, STAK Mining Pty Ltd (STAK).

Lucrative revenue stream

LPE chairman Justin Pettett said the company’s involvement in the BioHub will not only generate additional income, but will give it the option to build a potentially lucrative, vertically integrated revenue stream within the retailing business by energising a 100% renewable powered crypto miner.

“The BioHub and crypto mining option is attractive to new and existing investors, coupled with our growing retailing business of over 46,000 customers who delivered $55 million in revenues in FY21 and our innovative solar virtual power plants launching this quarter,” he said.

The site consists of five tenancies in total and has some completed and existing buildings on site.

New tenants of the BioHub will range from a freight logistics company, which is contracted to convert local council waste trucks from diesel to hydrogen power, and a data centre and crypto-currency mining start-up company with a mandate to run on 100% renewable energy.

A premium price can be obtained by LPE being involved in renewable energy and the BioHub, supplying green renewable energy to high usage tenants such as data centres and crypto miners (when its operations commence).

Further $4 million boost

Existing funder, BlackRock (BR) are providing LPE with a further $4 million by way of a short-term facility, to fund its increased prudential requirements with AEMO over the coming months.

This is the result of extreme volatility in the wholesale energy market, due to Queensland generator failure and the convergence of hotter weather events, the company said.

LPE will receive a 15% per annum margin on the Capital Works Funds, to be paid quarterly, plus a fee to bill and supply electricity to the tenants within the BioHub.

The Capital Works Funds principal will be repaid to the Company within 18 months.


Graphite mineral rights earn-in agreement

Hexagon Energy Materials (ASX:HXG) has signed a binding terms sheet earn-in agreement with Green Critical Minerals which will bring cash and exploration funding to the McIntosh Project’s graphite resources and leverage off past investment.

The deal sees Green Critical Minerals earning up to 80% of the graphite minerals rights at the McIntosh project, within the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, with all other mineral rights at the project retained by Hexagon.

A total of $500,000 cash ($300,000 on listing of the farm-in entity and $200,000 on the first anniversary of listing) will be paid to HXG, with a further $3m in exploration expenditure to be invested by Green Critical Minerals over four years.

Hexagon says the deal is in line with management’s strategic undertaking to focus on the core projects in future energy (clean hydrogen) and future energy materials (nickel, copper and PGEs).

Green Critical Minerals will continue graphite work programs on the project while Hexagon remains tenement owner and switches focus to exploring for nickel-copper-PGE’s at McIntosh.


Evolution targeting sustainable battery anode materials

Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX:EV1) is prioritising the development of a sustainable battery anode materials strategy to complement the development of the Chialo Graphite Project in Tanzania.

The graphite play is undertaking a commercial verification program to evaluate the amenability of Chilalo graphite to producing coated battery anode materials, utilising thermal purification and proprietary coating technologies.

Evolution managing director Phil Hoskins said the growing demand for battery anode materials is obvious but ensuring that those materials are sourced in a sustainable, ethical, and transparent way is a nonnegotiable for battery manufacturers and financiers.

“Sustainable graphite supply is fundamental to our strategy, with aspirations of becoming the world’s first net zero carbon graphite mine,” he said.

“We intend to embed that same sustainability ethos in our battery anode materials strategy, thereby becoming the supplier of choice to battery manufacturers of the future.”

Evolution has recommenced discussions and qualifications with leading battery anode technology partners with a view to developing both strategic supply and technology partnerships.

Project development update

TNG Limited (ASX:TNG) says hydrogen reduction test work is underway at its Mount Peake Vanadium-Titanium-Iron Project in the Northern Territory.

TNG has assessed opportunities within the project as well as the processing flowsheet to reduce the overall net carbon footprint.

This includes an ongoing technical and commercial assessment of the use of hydrogen reductant in the current flowsheet.