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Hot Rock confirms resource of up to 185 MW at its Calerias project in Chile

View of Santiago, Chile from Cerro San Cristobal (source: flickr/radzfoto, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 8 Aug 2011

Australian developer Hot Rock announces it has confirmed a geothermal resource of up to 185 MW of potential power generation capacity at its 100%-owned Calerias geothermal project in Chile, 100 km south of Santiago.

In a release in late July, Australian Hot Rock (ASX: HRL) announces it has “achieved a maiden geothermal resource of 7,400 petajoules (PJ) at its 100%-owned Calerias geothermal project in Chile, equivalent to 185 megawatts (MWe) of electrical power generation over a period of 30 years.

The assessment was undertaken within the company and has been reviewed independently by Dr Subir Sanyal of GeothermEx, an international expert in geothermal resource and reserve estimation.

The resource follows the completion of geological, geochemical and geophysical studies at the project located 100 kilometres south-east of Santiago, and is sufficient to meet the needs of more than 250,000 Chilean households.

The Resource area remains open with strong indications for a significant extension and a drill program is planned for early 2012.

Dr Mark Elliott, Hot Rock’s executive chairman, said “this is a very significant milestone, positioning the Calerias project as our most advanced in the burgeoning, Chilean geothermal sector.

“Chile is one of the best regions in which to advance geothermal projects today. The country has some of the best volcanic geology suited for geothermal energy in the world, yet the sector is still in its infancy. Chile also has a very stable, pro-development government providing excellent incentives to new geothermal companies.”

Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, has the highest power costs in South America. Due to increasing energy demand and drought, the country has suffered power shortages for several years. As a result there is potential to establish geothermal power in the country.

Hot Rock has had an on-the-ground presence in Chile since 2009 and its early mover advantage has allowed the company to cherry pick several prime tenements, well before the recent pegging rush by the other major geothermal companies. Hot Rock now holds the largest geothermal land package in Chile.

“Calerias is very prospective, being located near a volcanic centre providing heat. The project is also strategically located close to existing transmission grid inter-connection points with direct access to the large urban electricity market in Santiago and private customers such as the nearby El Teniente mine, the largest underground copper mine in the world,” Elliott added.

With a maiden resource now defined, Hot Rock will now fast track activities at Calerias with a view to start drilling by early 2012, upgrading the reservoir to a Measured Geothermal Resource suitable to commence a Bankable Feasibility Study.

A maiden resource assessment is nearing completion at Hot Rock’s next most advanced project, Longavi (100%-owned). Longavi is located 300 kilometres south of Santiago, close to transmission grid and markets.”

Source: Company release via ProActive Investors