Australian natural resources company Province Resources has unveiled a plan to produce green hydrogen from 1GW of wind and solar energy in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

The company normally focused on the exploration and development of various minerals such as copper or gold made the announcement for the gigawatt-scale green hydrogen project in the wake of its planned acquisition of exploration firm Ozexco.

Ozexco holds exploration license applications for minerals such as salt and potash in the region, which Province Resources says is also potentially suitable for a renewable green hydrogen development on a gigawatt scale called HyEnergy.

"This is the other side of the decarbonisation coin – while some environmentally conscious companies are addressing the electrification of transport and storage of renewable energy, Province is aiming to address the decarbonisation of heavy transport and industry through the production of zero carbon hydrogen products," the company’s chairman David Frances said in a stock market announcement.

Australia is home to some of the world’s largest green hydrogen projects, among them the gigantic Asian Renewable Energy Hub that could see the construction of 16GW of onshore wind and 10GW of solar to power 14GW of electrolysers.

HyEnergy project

The HyEnergy project, as well as a parallel mineral prospection plan called Gascoyne Project, would be located in a flat and arid area of 1,408 square kilometres close to the Western Australian town of Carnarvon, where Province Resources aims to create a hydrogen hub.

The company plans to produce some 60,000 tons of green hydrogen and up to 300,000 tons of green ammonia from the 1GW of renewable power installations.

Province Resources intends to sell the green hydrogen products both domestically and in Asian export markets, with potentially a smaller proportion of generation capacity to be dedicated to large energy users in the Pilbara region, which could include downstream mineral processing.

In a first stage, a pilot green hydrogen and green ammonia production is foreseen in Carnarvon. The company also plans to investigate the potential for the blending of hydrogen into the Dampier Bunbury natural gas pipeline of Western Australia.

The gas blending could be scaled up in a second stage, in line with a state government target of up to 10% of green hydrogen in the pipeline by 2030.

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Full scale production and exports to Asian markets are foreseen in a third stage.

Province Resources said it may draw on funding for renewable hydrogen from Western Australia’s state government, the Australian government’s Advancing Hydrogen Fund, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.