Construction of the geothermal power plant Te Ahi O Maui, near Kawerau, can now begin after the completion of the drilling stage.

Project manager Ben Gibson said the drill rig and associated equipment had now completely demobilised from site, where they had been working since May.

The drilling process targeted known sources of geothermal fluid, which could be as hot as 200-300C, he said.

"The drilling was successful - we located the high-temperature fluid that will ultimately fuel the geothermal power plant, and the injection capacity necessary to manage the cooler fluids that have passed through geothermal power plant."


Well pads were constructed on site and the Old Coach Rd, near Kawerau, was upgraded in preparation for the drilling rigs arrival in late April.

Drilling began in May following assembly, inspections, and karakia and blessings from local kaumatua.

Mr Gibson said there were no major incidents or harm to any person or the environment during the drilling process.

The project focus now shifts to the construction of the power plant, transmission line and steamfield.

Mr Tomairangi Fox, the project's cultural adviser, said he was happy to be moving on to the next stage.

The Te Ahi O Maui project has engaged Israeli company Ormat for the next phase of the development.

Ormat is a world-leader in the development and construction of state of the art and environmentally sound geothermal power solutions.

Te Ahi O Maui board chairman and chief executive of Eastland Group Matt Todd said he was pleased the project had partnered with Ormat for construction of the power plant.

"Ormat has over 30 years' experience in the New Zealand geothermal energy industry... They have the necessary skills and knowledge that we can rely on."

Resource consent for the project allows for the transfer of 15,000 tonnes of geothermal fluid each day from the Kawerau reservoir for 35 years, with the new plant on track to be operational in 2018.