Contact and Taheke 8C announce geothermal joint venture

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Contact Energy Ltd., New Zealands biggest publicly traded power company, has agreed to work with Maori landowners to assess the Taheke geothermal field near Rotorua. An agreement has been signed today between Contact and landowners of Taheke 8C and Adjoining Blocks Inc. The venture intends to build a power station in the area if studies and exploratory drilling prove there is a sufficient resource to run it, Contact said in a statement. That work is expected to take two years.

GeothermalFAfter a thorough and contestable process to identify the most suitable joint venture partner for Taheke 8C, Contact stood out as the best fit for us and our aspirations, Chairman Tawhiri Morehu said.

The combination of a strong commercial approach, commitment to sustainable development, expertise in geothermal reservoir management and development as well as a willingness to work jointly with the incorporation ticked the right boxes for us, he said.

We are kaitiaki of this land so sustainable and careful development of the geothermal resource is essential. We need to be able look after both the land and the economic advancement of our people in the long term, Mr Morehu said.

The partners will first explore and appraise the resource, including the drilling of exploratory wells. The data gathered will enable decisions on the best approach to the sustainable development of the resource. If the exploration and appraisal programme are successful, the partners will jointly develop a new power station.

Contact Managing Director David Baldwin said the joint venture with Taheke 8C was a significant step forward in the companys geothermal development programme and in the companys relationships with Maori.

This is a genuine joint venture, with both parties actively participating in the development. We are excited about working with Taheke 8C to build a strong commercial future with Taheke in which both parties will contribute to develop a sustainable geothermal project which optimises long term commercial returns, said Mr Baldwin.

Taheke 8C and Contact will explore and appraise the geothermal resource over the next two years.

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