WALNUT, Calif., June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) today provided an update on the status of Giant King™ Grass growing in South Africa. Previously, the company announced that it had signed a project agreement and received funding from Selectra CC of Johannesburg, South Africa, and that Giant King Grass was delivered and planted in South Africa.
The first project for Selectra is to remediate and also produce energy on land that has been altered by gold mining in South Africa. Mining is a very large industry in Africa, and there are numerous large tracts of mine affected lands. For example, gold mining produces large amounts of ore from which the gold has been extracted. There are thousands of hectares of these "mine dumps" or more correctly stated, slimes dams and mine tailings (the footprint that remains after a slimes dam has been removed for further processing).
The slimes dams are composed primarily of crushed rock that has been processed to remove the gold. It is not suitable soil and has minimal organic matter. There are traces of chemicals and contaminants from the gold processing. The mining companies are responsible for ensuring that these contaminants do not enter into the groundwater or are transported outside the dam itself by wind or erosion. They must maintain these slimes dams indefinitely until they are no longer a hazard.
Giant King Grass was planted on the slimes dams to evaluate its performance in this difficult environment. Giant King Grass can be used as a windbreak to prevent dust from spreading and to prevent soil erosion. The subsurface root system will add organic matter and help create soil from the crushed rock. The Giant King Grass may take up heavy metal contaminants from the slimes dams and contribute to remediation. Food crops are not possible because of the contamination in the soil. Selectra's goal is to use the Giant King Grass as a feedstock for either anaerobic digestion or direct combustion to produce electricity and therefore create value from these slimes dams for themselves and their partner gold mining company. It may be possible to remove the heavy metal contaminants from the anaerobic digestate as well.
Selectra Commercial Director Dwight Rosslee reports, "Giant King Grass is growing well on the slimes footprint and we are pleased with the results so far. We are entering a critical phase of the tests as we need to model plant growth during our winter months and the early signs are most encouraging as the plants have continued to grow under the frost covers. In this regard we have extended the trial to December 2013 and thereby having almost 12 months data." Rosslee attributes the success of the trials to Giant King Grass' unique properties coupled with Selectra's proprietary soil treatments – "the slimes footprint where the tests are taking place are very unhospitable towards crop establishment with just about no organic loading, no nutrients and is acidic with an average pH of 4."
Rosslee continued, "The tests on the tailings are extremely important as Giant King Grass could become our preferred crop on the tailings dams to get the biomass yields we are seeking. Moreover, the tailings dam applications outside of bioenergy are exciting as they are extremely varied from wind breaks, erosion prevention, and dust suppression to land remediation. In addition we will conduct scientific tests to gauge the ability of the plant to take up heavy metals and other contaminants typically found in mine impacted land. We are optimistic regarding our test results thus far and our goal is to use this data to support building biomass power plants to generate electricity from the Giant King Grass."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented: "Selectra is a leading developer of sustainable bioenergy projects in Africa. They are considering both biogas and direct combustion biomass power plants, both of which we have conclusively demonstrated that Giant King Grass is the ideal biomass platform to support. Our mutual goal is for VIASPACE and Selectra to join forces and work together on power plant projects. We at VIASPACE are very pleased that Giant King Grass is now a leading candidate to be used simultaneously to reclaim gold mine affected lands through the process of phytoremediation and then be continuously harvested to create bioelectricity. This is a classic win-win situation of job creation in putting local farmers to work, providing an environmentally sound and green method to restore mine tailings, and in the process, generate carbon neutral electricity for local homes and businesses. We believe that this model can be a resounding environmental and business success."
Selectra is a private South African company working in the water, waste & energy nexus in Africa. Please contact Selectra by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant King™ Grass as a low-carbon fuel for clean electricity generation; for environmentally friendly energy pellets; and as a feedstock for bio-methane production and for green cellulosic biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. Giant King Grass is a proprietary, high yield, dedicated biomass clean energy crop that does not compete with or displace food production. For more information, please go to www.VIASPACE.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Information in this news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.
SOURCE VIASPACE Inc.