|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Victoria and coal|
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Newtech Energy is a small Chinese-owned company which hopes to build a brown coal briquette plant in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria. While the company states on its website that it was formed in 2007 to "to produce high value export commodities from Victoria’s vast coal resource" the earliest news articles listed on the company's website dates from July 2011.
On its website Newtech Energy states that it is proposing to build a brown coal processing plant to "transform raw brown coal into relatively higher value lump coal or PCI (pulverised coal injection – for steel making) coal for export to China". The company states that it is aiming to "target premium coal markets such as fertiliser manufacturing, aluminium smelting, ceramic making, titanium dioxide calcination and steel making". The company states that it is aiming to obtain a supply of coal from EnergyAustralia and "equity support from JV partner Zhejiang Shipping Group (China)."
The company states that "the project is still under development with major Australian companies including GHD and EnergyAustralia working with Newtech Energy to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals" for the project to be built at a site adjoining the existing Yallourn Power Station.
In September 2012 the Latrobe Valley Express reported that on the website under its former business name, Awyin Developments Pty Ltd, the company announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding for the supply of brown coal supply from TRUenergy as it was then known (now Energy Australia). TRUenergy spokesperson Carl Kitchen told the Latrobe Valley Express that the project was still in its development and proposal stage. "We believe the brown coal is an asset and are prepared to work with companies to see they can develop further use of the resource," Mr Kitchen said. It was also reported that NewTech proposes to export one million tonnes of coal briquettes per year for use in the ceramic industry in Foshan City, China.
The Latrobe Valley Express reported that a Latrobe Valley Council source stated that "this announcement is a culmination of a lot of hard work by Latrobe City Council. There has been close contact with Awyin Developments (Newtech Energy) and council for some time." It was also reported that Latrobe City Council officers had a "very good meeting" with the shipping group Zhejiang Shipping Group in August 2012. "I'm glad this particular investment has been confirmed but ultimately we have challenges with infrastructure particularly rail transport," the source stated. It is believed that the company proposes to export briquettes out via Port Anthony.
While Newtech has stated that it has a coal supply agreement with EnergyAustralia, it has been reported that amounts to only 3 million tonnes a year and that an additional allocation would be required to expand the project. EnergyAustralia have stated that the details of the MOU are commercial in confidence.
A Latrobe Valley Council insider told the Latrobe Valley Express that "ultimately we have challenges with infrastructure particularly rail transport," the source stated. It is believed that the company proposes to export briquettes out via Port Anthony.
However, John McNaught, a senior mechanical engineer with GHD, which is working with Newtech on the project, estimates that the project would employ 40 to 50 truck drivers to carry the product from the proposed plant to a Melbourne-based port. McNaught estimated that it would require three 40 tonne B-Doubles truckloads every hour along the Princes Highway to Melbourne. "At the moment numerous industries are already transporting that amount of product on Gippsland's roads. However it does come at a significant cost to the operation - the biggest penalty for us is getting the product the 150 kilometres from the Valley to Port - which is more expensive than shipping it the 9000km to China by boat," Mr McNaught said.
Bid for works planning approval
In July 2011 the Victorian Minister for Planning announced that he had decided that a proposed 1 million tonne per annum briquetting plant proposed by Awyin Developments would not require an Environmental Effects Statement. In a statement of reasons, the Minister stated that the proposed project would not "cause significant adverse effects on the environmental values" of the site or the local area. In the statement it was stated that "the potential residual environmental effects of the project, including greenhouse gas emissions, can be adequately assessed and managed through the Works Approval and License under the Environment Protection Act 1970, in accordance with applicable subordinate legislation and statutory instruments."
In June 2013 it was reported that Newtech stated that it planned to lodge a works approval application with the Environment Protection Authority in July. The company claims that it is aiming to begin construction in 2014.
In April 2013 the then Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu boasted that one of the outcomes of a $66,000 trade mission to China was that "NewTech Energy (Formerly Awyin Developments) signed a $50 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zhejiang Shipping Group and its parent company, CICO to commercialise a brown coal processing project in Victoria's LaTrobe Valley."
It was subsequently reported that as part of the deal the company would have first rights to bid for the export shipping contract. However, the source of finance for the balance of the estimated $170 million project was uncertain.
Newtech Energy is an unlisted company registered in Australia. The company has issued 1,000 $1 shares, 900 of which were issued in mid-May 2013. As of May 16, 2013, the shareholders of Newtech Energy were:
- Latrobe Resources, a company from Kowloon in Hong Kong, owns 76.6% of the company;
- Yan Wu, from Wheelers Hill in Victoria, owns 10% of the company;
- Global Development International, a company incorporated in Australia, owns 5% of the company;
- Jie Xu, from Mentone in Victoria, owns 5% of the company;
- Win Legeng Investment Ltd, a Hong Kong company, owns 3.4%;
On its website, Newtech Energy listed its key personnel as being:
- Tony Huang, Managing Director
- Dr Jian Guo, Executive Director
- Colin Box, Project Manager
- Lyman Deng, Executive Director
- Simon Xue, Manager
Newtech Energy Pty Ltd
Level 2, Suite 2, 295 Springvale Road
Glen Waverley, VIC 3150 Australia
Phone: (61-3) 9561 9295
Fax: (61-3) 8526 0301
Email: enquiry AT newtechenergy.com.au
Articles and resources
- Newtech Energy, "Our Company", Newtech Energy website, accessed June 2013.
- Newtech Energy, "Obtained approval by the Victorian Government for undertaking Works Approval (Expected for Environmental Effect Statement)", Newtech Energy website, July 13th, 2011.
- Newtech Energy, "Projects", Newtech Energy website, June 2013.
- Louis Nelson and Annabelle Beale, "Coal deal signed", Latrobe Valley Express, September 20, 2012.
- Louis Nelson, "Bold coal export vision", Latrobe Valley Express, June 6, 2013.
- Environmental Protection Agency, "Latrobe Briquette Manufacturing Facility (Re-referral)", July 20, 2011.
- Louis Nelson, "Coal plans on the table", Latrobe Valley Express, June 3, 2013.
- Ted Baillieu, "Outcomes Report: China Super Trade Mission 2012", Department of Premier and Cabinet, April 2, 2013.
- Newtech Energy, "Change to company details: Newtech Energy", May 16, 2013.
- Newtech Energy, "About Us: Management", Newtech Energy website, June 2013.
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- Australian Securities Investment Commission, "Company Summary: Newtech Energy Pty Ltd", June 25, 2013.
- AECOM, EES Referral – Additional Information Regarding Change to the Proposed Coal Drying Process Latrobe Briquette Manufacturing Facility, October 26, 2009.
- "Reasons for Decision under the Environmental Effects Act 1978: Latrobe Briquette Manufacturing Facility", November 13, 2009.
- "Referral of a project for a decision on the need for assessment under the Environmental Effects Act 1978: Awyin Developments Pty Ltd", May 2011.
- "Reasons for Decision under the Environmental Effects Act 1978: Title of Proposal: Latrobe Briquette Manufacturing Facility (Re-referral)", Department of Planning and Community Development, July 13, 2011.