• Gold Hydrogen MD Neil McDonald and chair, Alexander Downer.
    Gold Hydrogen MD Neil McDonald and chair, Alexander Downer.

Gold Hydrogen’s push to be the first company in Australia to produce commercial deposits of naturally occurring hydrogen has moved forward with the company completing soil tests in preparation for drilling in October.

The tests, conducted for the company by the CSIRO, were done in the South Australia tenement area.

Hydrogen was detected in multiple locations, at mild to moderate levels, under testing.

Gold Hydrogen, which listed on the ASX earlier this year, holds the country’s first natural hydrogen exploration tenement , covering the lower half of the Yorke Peninsula and parts of Kangaroo Island.

When sites within the tenement were tested for oil about 100 years ago, naturally occurring hydrogen at up to 90 per cent purity was found.

With limited commercial use for hydrogen in the 1920s and 1930s, the significance of the discovery was not realised.

Gold Hydrogen managing director Neil McDonald said the positive soil results support the company’s natural hydrogen theories.

He said the samples came from areas near geological faults that extend down into the basement rocks.

‘’These results are exactly what you’d expect if a hydrogen reservoir existed there,’’ McDonald said.

‘’They could imply that hydrogen has been generated in the subsurface, migrated upwards, and may have filled a suitable subsurface reservoir covered by a seal, preventing escape of the accumulation.

‘’It is positive for the theory we developed from day one on how natural hydrogen is generated and remains below the surface.’’

The results came soon after Gold Hydrogen appointed Savanna Energy to drill the first exploration well near Minalton.

This was the original site tested 100 years ago.

Gold Hydrogen has approval from landholders and is working with the South Australian government to finalise the environmental and regulatory approvals for the first well.

‘’We are pleased we’re on track to meet our target of drilling this year in October,’’ McDonald said.

Gold Hydrogen’s modelling says it could produce hydrogen at up to a third of the cost of solar and other manufactured hydrogen production.

Natural hydrogen has been found on several continents, with Europe’s largest discovery announced in France last month.

In western Africa, it has been used to power a small city in Mali for more than 10 years. Worldwide interest in the phenomenon is growing with a Denver company, funded by billionaire Bill Gates, raising $USS91 million for exploration in the US.