Construction starts for geothermal silica extraction facility in New Zealand
Geo40 has started construction on the first commercial-scale silica extraction plant following a successful demonstration in the Ohaaki geothermal field
Construction has officially started on the first commercial-scale plant that will extract silica and other valuable minerals from geothermal brine. Geo40 is behind the development of the technology and the plant, having received $15 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund after the success of a demonstration plant in the Ohaaki geothermal field.
The groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday last week included a Karakia done by the Ngati Tahu Tribal Lands Trust. The company will continue to work with their Ahu Whenua partner, providing up to 70 people with jobs during the 12-month construction period.
According to John Lea, Managing Director of Geo40, the success of this commercial plant will allow them to expand further in the Ohaaki site and hopefully bring the technology to other geothermal fields internationall.
In addition to silica extraction, Geo40 is currently conducting studies to develop the technology to extract other minerals from geothermal brine, including lithium.
Preliminary lab results are promising, confirming that over 90 percent of the lithium from the Ohaaki geothermal brine can be extracted. This technology will be tested in the demonstration plant by late 2019