Greenvale's interests in Oil Shale Deposits

Greenvale’s principal assets are its interests in three oil shale tenements granted by the Queensland Government.  These tenements are the areas of land subject to:

  • MDL 188, known as the “Lowmead” tenement, located approximately 75km south east of Gladstone;
  • EPM 7721, known as the “Nagoorin” tenement, located approximately 50km south of Gladstone; GRV has also applied for the grant of MDL 234 which covers part of this area; and
  • MDL 330, known as the “Alpha” tenement, located approximately 500km west of Rockhampton, and 62km north west of the township of Alpha.

The Nagoorin and Lowmead tenements were acquired from Southern Pacific Petroleum NL in 2003, together with Esperance Minerals Ltd (ESM) and Queensland Energy Resources Limited (QER).  The Company, in joint venture with ESM, then subsequently added the Alpha Project to its suite of projects.

During 2012, however the Company completed a transaction to acquire from ESM its interests in the Lowmead, Nagoorin and Alpha Projects.  The current interest of Greenvale, ESM and QER in the tenements are set out in the schedule below.

Greenvale Tenement Schedule

*The interest in the Alpha tenement is held by Greenvale’s subsidiary, Alpha Resources Pty Ltd.  Total interest is 99.99% - number above is subject to rounding.

Overview of Oil Shale

Oil shale is an organic-rich rock which produces oil when it is heated.  The oil shale rock was formed some 50 million years ago.  When oil shale is heated, the kerogen (a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks) is vaporized and the vapour is cooled or distilled to produce liquid oil.  Empirical evidence shows that Queensland oil shale can contain between 65 – 220 litres of oil per ton of rock.


Summary of Australian Oil Shale Deposits

Figure 2 to the right, shows the occurrence of oil shale in Australia and highlights the key oil shale deposits on the Australian East Coast.  There are nine tertiary deposits in Eastern Queensland that have been investigated by exploratory drilling.  Most of the deposits that have been investigated are lamosites that were deposited in freshwater lakes located in grabens (grabens form as a result of a block of land being downthrown producing a valley with a distinct scarp on each side).  

Three of the largest deposits in Queensland are Condor, Nagoorin and Rundle.

The Alpha site is one of the smallest but highest grade deposits in Queensland.


History of Oil Shale Activities in Australia

Oil shale has been in operation for over 100 years. The origin of oil shale in Australia was from Torbanite deposits in New South Wales and there were some 16 deposits between the 1860’s and the 1960’s that were in operation.  In the early years, Torbanite was used for gas enrichment in Australia and overseas. 

In the oil crisis of the 1970’s this triggered an investigation into alternative hydro-carbon sources as a way of supplementing conventional oil supplies.  A number of major United States oil companies including Exxon, established with the assistance of the United States Government, pilot plants for the processing of oil shale.  These plants were high cost compared to the production of conventional oil. 

Development of the Stuart deposit in Queensland, Australia was commenced in 2001 by Southern Pacific Petroleum NL and Central Pacific Minerals NL.  In 2003, 1.16 million tons of oil shale was mined by the open pit method from which 702,000 barrels of oil were recovered.  The Alberta-Tacuik retorting process was used in these operations.  The Stuart operation was closed due to the economic conditions as well as environmental factors. 

In 2008, amidst concerns for the potential environmental impact relating to the development of oil shale, the Queensland Government announced a moratorium over the granting of any new tenures or the variation of existing tenures relating to oil shale in Queensland.  The moratorium was to extend for a period of no less than two years, pending the completion of a report to be commissioned by the Queensland Government for the purposes of identifying existing oil shale resources and making recommendations about the desirability of the exploitation of those resources. This report was submitted for consideration by the Queensland Government during 2012. 

In conjunction with the Company’s ongoing pursuit for suitable technologies for the processing of its oil shale, the Company is continuing to make the necessary enquiries and undertake all reasonable steps to encourage the lifting of the moratorium by the Queensland Government.

 Figure 1: Shows the location of the Company’s tenements and their proximity to road, rail and shipping.

Figure 1: Shows the location of the Company's tenements and their proximity to road, rail and shipping.

Figure 2: Occurrence of Oil Shale in Australia

Figure 2: Occurrence of Oil Shale in Australia