Solid Energy’s financial woes will be alleviated somewhat with the news of a new development at its troubled Craig Road briquetting plant. The $29 million plant ran into unforeseen difficulties since its completion in June last year, and commissioning of the plant, which was intended to turn lignite into briquettes for local and export markets, has not been completed.
Solid Energy and their partner GTL Energy Ltd, which developed the briquetting technology, have formed another company, Liquid Energy Ltd. This new wholly owned NZ subsidiary will lease and run the plant for a one year period beginning 1 April, 2013, producing and distilling their “Mataura Malt” brand of Hokonui moonshine whiskey.
“Everything is still shiny and new” said Liquid Energy’s new CEO John Smith. “The plant is clean and ready to produce its first whiskey consignment. We have a promising market for the whiskey, unlike the market for briquettes, which has run into difficulties.”
“It has been a steep learning curve but we have been fortunate to draw on the expertise of the local Hokonui moonshine whiskey distillers’ fine tradition.” Smith said.
In a modern version of the traditional Scottish method, which uses water from peat bogs, Liquid Energy will use water from lignite beds. “Lignite is very close to peat in quality. We are so fortunate to already own vast resources of this fine natural water filter relatively undisturbed in the Mataura Valley.”
“Our venture will truly be a sustainable boost to the local economy” Smith said.
Solid Energy group manager of strategy and corporate affairs describes the turn of events as an exciting development
Money raised from whiskey sales will go towards covering the costs of ex CEO Don Elder’s gardening leave.