International interest as ShieldLiner successfully completes Australian 'no dig' pipe repair

ShieldLiner Ltd. finishes its first in-field commissioning trial, relining 70 meters of root-infected stormwater pipe for the city of Stirling in Perth, Western Australia...

STIRLING, Australia, Sept. 16, 2005 -- Infrastructure technology group ShieldLiner Ltd. has achieved an important milestone in the development of its trench-less technology for repairing and rehabilitating underground pipes by successfully relining 70 meters of damaged stormwater drains for the city of Stirling in Western Australia.

The task involved relining damaged pipes from the inside, utilizing the proprietary ShieldLinerâ„¢ System to create a new fiberglass inner skin, which bonded and became part of the host pipes.

ShieldLiner Managing Director John Hassen said this first public trial was a key milestone in the path to commercialization, and to addressing a world-wide problem for local authorities faced with the dislocation and cost of digging up and replacing underground pipes, by providing a viable method of repairing them in situ.

"Stirling is an important reference site and pilot project for the ShieldLiner System and we are confident it will lead to broader opportunities, as it has already attracted international interest," said Hassen.

"As pipe joints and cracks are completely filled and sealed this should prevent tree root intrusion which has been an ongoing problem for a number of years at the Stirling site, where the root-damaged stormwater drain has contributed to localised winter flooding," he said.

City of Stirling's director of infrastructure management, Geoff Eves, said the City had been keen to participate in the trial because it had the potential to provide a cost-effective way of extending the life of Stirling's stormwater drainage system.

"The cost and time involved in digging up and replacing root-damaged drains, coupled with the inconvenience to residents, are the reasons the City became involved in the trial," said Eves.

"Replacing the 70 meters of pipes would have involved digging up roads, verges, driveways and footpaths to a depth of three meters over a two week period, at a cost of about $45,000," he said.

Eves said ShieldLiner claimed the in situ repair could extend the life of the drain by up to 50 years.

The ShieldLiner system involves inserting a precision tool that travels along the pipe being rehabilitated and delivers the new inner lining. The process is monitored and filmed as it goes, and minutely evaluated in an on-site mobile control room.

It has been developed as a cost effective alternative to digging up and replacing ageing pipeline infrastructure -- one of the most pressing issues confronting public and private infrastructure owners world-wide.

Hassen said the successful trial involved the structural lining of 70 meters of 300mm diameter concrete pipe using the first commercial ShieldLiner rig in a continuous run.

"This is the culmination of an intensive 12-month program since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in which we have been focused on construction, testing and commissioning of a commercially capable rig," said Hassen.

"We are delighted with the results achieved and with the level of sophistication in automation and data logging we have been able to build into the system. The quality of the finished product and the ability to impregnate even micro-cracks in the host pipe is very pleasing," he said.

Hassen said the trial phase had been completed within the forward cost estimates and budget outlined in the company's prospectus, with a significant portion of the costs incurred on the development program since listing being eligible for a cash refund under research and development taxation concessions.

"We will shortly embark on our first marketing program and follow up the numerous inquiries from leading contracting, engineering and infrastructure groups who had previously contacted the company and expressed interest in the technology. We aim to release a promotional DVD showing the system in operation by the end of October," said Hassen.

The ShieldLiner System has the potential to create a new, cost effective alternative for asset owners in the multi-billion dollar global piping infrastructure industries, and could represent a major breakthrough, dramatically reducing repair and rehabilitation costs and lengthening the life of pipeline assets.

The system involves the insertion of a tool that travels along the pipe being rehabilitated, delivering and compacting resin to fill and repair cracks and holes whilst at the same time wetting out an inverting liner. It requires two access points to the pipe. The liner package is introduced behind the ShieldLiner tool at one end and then inverted using an air pressure chamber. At the other end resin, catalyst, air and electronic monitoring wiring are delivered to the tool from a surface rig. The tool travels from the air pressure chamber access point towards the surface rig, driven by the inverting liner. The system is more economical than digging up pipes that potentially could be rehabilitated and addresses the growing problem of groundwater pollution and infiltration due to leaking and failing sewer pipes.

ShieldLiner Ltd. (www.shieldliner.com), of Jandakot, Western Australia, is publicly traded company and owner and developer of several patent pending innovative new pipe relining technologies known as the ShieldLiner System with potential applications in the global piping infrastructure, oil, gas and mining industries.

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