11 January 2021
Oracle Power PLC
("Oracle", the "Company" or the "Group")
Q4 Update and Shareholder Q&A Session
Oracle Power PLC (AIM:ORCP), the international natural resources and power project developer, is pleased to provide the following update statement from its CEO, Naheed Memon, with respect to developments during Q4 2020:
"The final quarter of the year was a significant period for the Company, presenting considerable opportunities despite frustrations relating to certain delays in Pakistan. Despite the prolonged process which we have experienced over the past nine months with the Ministry of Energy, I can say unequivocally that our Thar Block VI Project has never featured more prominently in the minds of key decision makers and government agencies in Pakistan, as the country looks to unlock the exceptional value of this strategic national asset.
"We have witnessed a concerted enhancement in the role which coal can play in the context of both energy and food security and plans for the holistic development of Thar Block VI for power, gas and potentially liquid fuel, now feature as an integral component for sustainable development in the country.
"Last month, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Honourable Mr Imran Kahn, addressed the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on the country's commitment and strategy to work towards lower carbon emissions. As part of this statement, he declared that Pakistan would rationalise the usage of coal for power, as evident in its decision to abort two coal fired power plants, both of which were scheduled to use predominantly imported coal as feedstock.
"Mr Khan also outlined the Pakistan Government's strong support for developing its indigenous coal reserves, prioritising and initiating the development of coal to liquids and coal to gas projects. These clean coal processes form an integral component of our development programme at Thar Block VI and will produce urea for use in fertiliser and liquid fuel to be used domestically, thereby reducing Pakistan's reliance on imported fuel sources.
"The appetite within government ministries for developing a large-scale coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas industry in Thar is gaining momentum. I enjoyed a very productive meeting with the Minister of Energy within the Government of Sindh in mid-December. During this meeting we discussed items including the commencement of pre-feasibility work for coal-to-gas at Thar in collaboration with stakeholders, including engineering and research academia and the fertiliser industry. Other initiatives, including building a prototype coal to gas plant and holding various technical workshops led by our Consortium Partner, China National Coal Development Company (CNCDC), which is a world leader in coal development and integrated industries, have also been tabled.
"I also met the Federal Minister for Planning in Islamabad, and we discussed the formulation of a policy framework for the development of coal-to-gas and coal-to-liquid, similar to what currently exists for coal to power. I am pleased to report that I have begun engagements for the commencement of coal-to-gas feasibility work in addition to advocacy for policy in collaboration with our technical partner, CNCDC.
"Our objective to establish a mine mouth power plant at Thar remains an important aspect of our all-encompassing development strategy and in this vein, the process with the PPIB continues to move forward. However, a government review of national power planning and transmission systems, and some delays in CPEC government-to-government meetings, has created a backlog in applications. Working towards achieving progress on our power project in as short timeframe as possible remains our focus and I look forward to sharing more news with you as soon the government finalises its power production plans.
"Outside of Pakistan, Oracle has made great strides forward in realising the Company's broader strategy, to become an international natural resource and power project developer. It is with this in mind that I was delighted to announce, in November 2020, the acquisition of two highly prospective gold assets in Western Australia. Oracle has brought itself into the realm of international mining project development and I aim to continue to grow this dimension aggressively.
"From a strategic perspective, providing investors with exposure to the gold industry - particularly in a country which is widely recognised as one of the optimum mining jurisdictions globally - provides Oracle with a highly compelling new growth driver and project development in WA stands to move at a quick pace.
"Our acquisition of the Australian gold assets was not, and is not, a signal that our commitment or participation in Thar Block VI is in any way waning but rather, that we are planning now for a time when Oracle becomes a relatively small participant in what should become a project of internationally significant proportions.
"Our aim to translate exploration potential into tangible resource value has progressed over recent weeks with the accelerated field-based exploration programme at the Northern Zone Gold Project, located 25km east of the major gold mining centre of Kalgoorlie, the home of Super Pit, the second largest gold mine in Australia. The purpose of the field-based exploration programme was to gain a further understanding of the potential and extent of mineralisation present. Geological modelling has commenced, which aims to provide a detailed understanding of the geology extent and potential exploration upside of the defined mineralisation, which will support a maiden drilling campaign in the coming weeks. Similarly, work at Jundee East, which is located about 9km east of Northern Star's Jundee Gold Mine, one of Australia's largest gold mines, is expected to commence this year. The mineralisation of Jundee East based on gravity modelling has demonstrated distinct similarities with the Jundee Gold mine, and we are very excited about the prospects here.
"Looking now to corporate matters, we were sorry to lose Non-Executive Director Glen Lewis in December but would like to thank him for his contributions to the Company. We also said farewell to Ashley Warden, who had worked as our Company Secretary and was replaced by Nicholas Lee as of the beginning of the year. Nicholas has extensive capital markets experience and is actively involved with AIM quoted companies. He has advised a range of companies across a number of different sectors both as a director and, in his previous capacity, as a corporate financier.
"Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to shareholders for their continued support and belief during what has been such a difficult year for many. 2020 was certainly challenging but with the support of my board, our partners, and shareholders, we progressed fast in Western Australia and enhanced our project significantly via alignment with government goals in Pakistan.
"I believe that in terms of both our interests in Pakistan and Australia, we are in a strong position to now move forward and reward valuable support and patience with meaningful progress. As I am sure all can appreciate, I receive a great deal of correspondence from shareholders seeking updates or requesting information and it is my hope that I can address these questions in the forthcoming Q&A session, the details of which can be found below.
"I wish all of our shareholders, stakeholders, employees and partners a very happy and healthy 2021 and I look forward to reporting on our progress in Pakistan and Australia in the near future."
The Board of Oracle would like to advise shareholders that Naheed Memon, CEO of Oracle, will be conducting a shareholder Q&A session which will be made available on the Company's website by close of business on 19 January 2021.
Shareholders are invited to submit questions to Ms. Memon by 5pm on 14 January 2021 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no guarantee that all questions will be discussed on the call given time limitations and/or specific sensitivities with respect to operations.
For further information:
Oracle Power PLC
+44 (0) 203 580 4314
Strand Hanson Limited (Nominated Adviser)
Rory Murphy, James Harris, Jack Botros
+44 (0) 20 7409 3494
Brandon Hill Capital Limited (Joint Broker)
+44 (0) 203 463 5000
Shard Capital (Joint Broker)
St Brides Partners Limited (Financial PR)
+44 (0) 20 7186 9952
+44 (0) 20 7236 1177