Coal seam gas feeds Queensland’s giant LNG export sector but also generates large quantities of salty waste brine, disposal of which represents extensive environmental risks.

The industry currently produces 4.8 billion litres of waste brine containing some 200,000t of waste salts per annum and has been unable to develop a solution that will ensure that brine or salt residues are treated to create useable products wherever feasible according to the regulations it is governed by.

And to further highlight the problem, some 6Mt of waste salts are expected to be produced over the life of the existing CSG projects operating in Queensland, a significant proportion of which have already been produced and are currently being stored in 36 brine ponds.

Current plans to dispose of these salts using salt encapsulation present extensive environmental risks and are deeply unpopular with stakeholders, including local farmers and regional community groups.

While this is a major issue, it also represents a significant opportunity – especially when you are a company like Parkway Corporate (ASX:PWN) that has developed a portfolio of proprietary process technologies, to specifically address the waste brine and salt challenges facing the CSG industry.

These technologies have undergone extensive process optimisation, piloting and technoeconomic evaluations – providing a high level of confidence in their value proposition particularly when compared with the industry’s planned approach.

To top it off, the company has also developed a new upstream brine beneficiation and concentration technology.

Master Plan for CSG waste brines

To highlight its technology’s superior safety, environmental and commercial metrics, the company is developing a Master Plan to evaluate the advantages of processing all the brine from ongoing production and existing brine ponds using its proprietary technology-based approach compared to the industry’s current approach.

This is expected to avoid the disposal of about 6Mt of waste salts into landfill and eliminate the enduring environmental risks associated with salt encapsulation at far lower capital and operating costs.

To top it off, the company expects to produce significant quantities of industrial chemical products from the waste salts, which will result in the generation of substantial revenues as opposed to disposal costs.

As part of the Master Plan, Parkway has also developed a comprehensive technoeconomic model encompassing all the major wastewater treatment plants operating within the Queensland CSG industry.

This is believed to be the most comprehensive industry-wide evaluation performed to date and is supporting the development and dynamic evaluation of various Master Plan related commercialisation scenarios.

Discussions with industry, regulatory authorities, partners, including potential strategic investors continue to be highly encouraging while the company has recently incorporated Queensland Brine Solutions as a dedicated commercialisation entity, to advance the objectives of Master Plan.

“Following more than a decade of innovative process development, and with the last three years involving a major focus on the CSG brine treatment opportunity, we are pleased to be able to reveal initial details about our Master Plan concept,” managing director Bahay Ozcakmak said.

He added that the evolving operating environment and existing regulatory requirements is leading to the “inevitable conclusion” that the industry’s current approach is becoming increasingly untenable.

“Whilst our evaluation of the opportunities presented by Master Plan are ongoing, our assessment that the adoption of Master Plan, could potentially create billions of dollars of value, just in Queensland, highlights the potential scale of the impact of our technologies.” Ozcakmak noted.

“As the owner of these proprietary process technologies, and with the support of our established strategic partners, particularly global engineering company Worley, we are very optimistic in our ability to create and capture significant value, through our Master Plan initiative.”

Management boost

Parkway has also appointed Mike Hodgkinson as its chief commercial officer to lead a range of commercialisation initiatives including the role of commercial lead for the Master Plan concept.

Hodgkinson is a highly accomplished cleantech executive with a wealth of experience in sustainability and innovation who has consistently demonstrated his ability to create shareholder value through raising capital, forging strategic partnerships, managing high-growth companies, and successfully commercialising various technologies and engineered products.

He has worked for multinationals including Comalco, Alcatel, and Citigroup, as well as several dynamic venture capital backed companies including RayGen and Relectrify.

The company has also engaged an established investment research organisation to prepare an independent research report, outlining a prospective investment case for Parkway.

This is being updated to reflect the latest information relating to the Master Plan, including indicative CAPEX and OPEX implications, as well as incorporation of the new upstream brine beneficiation and concentration technology.

This article was developed in collaboration with Parkway Corporate, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.