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Nickel Asia hikes stake in power unit

Nickel Asia Corp. said Wednesday it increased its stake in Emerging Power Inc. to 66 percent from 55 percent to help fund a geothermal project in Mindoro Oriental.

Nickel Asia said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it paid P237 million or half of the approved P474-million additional investment in the power company.

The funds will be used to drill additional wells and related production facilities within Montelago geothermal project in Mindoro Oriental, the company said.

The Montelago geothermal project in Mindoro Oriental recently received a new volumetric assessment report from Iceland Geosurvey, the consultant of project proponent EPI.

The company said the new assessment report resulted in an increase in the Montelago geothermal resource to a range of 28 to 30 megawatts over a 25-year period.

“The resource can expand with further drilling,” Nickel Asia said.

The geothermal plant project involves the drilling of the Montelago field and the installation of up to 40 megawatts of power generating units at a projected cost of $185 million.

Nickel Asia earlier said power would be supplied to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro provinces.

EPI plans other renewable energy projects within the country, including a 70-MW wind project in Camarines Sur province.

Other renewable energy projects are a 10-MW solar project in Camarines Sur, a 2.5-MW biogas station in Quezon and a 10-MW solar and bunker hybrid facility in northern Palawan.

Nickel Asia made its first power investment in a 10-MW bunker-fired plant in Surigao City designed to minimize power outages in the area.

The project has been approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission and is expected to be operational next year at a cost of P1 billion.

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