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Briefcase: SA business snippets


Welcome to Briefcase, a quick tour of announcements, awards and events showcasing the everyday exploits of SA businesses.

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Oz Minerals progresses West Musgrave project

OZ Minerals will progress its study of the West Musgrave project following the release of a pre-feasibility study update for the region’s Nebo and Babel deposits last week.

The update on the original PFS released in February includes an improvement to key project metrics such as an increase to the mine’s processing plant throughput rate from 10 Mtpa to 12 Mtpa.

The SA miner also flags a 15 per cent increase in average annual copper production to about 32,000 tpa copper, a 20 per cent annual increase in nickel to 26,000 tpa and a six per cent reduction in operating costs to $32 per tonne of ore mined.

Oz Minerals already has South Australian copper/gold mines at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena.

If it goes ahead, the West Musgrave project in remote Western Australia aims to be powered by an off-grid renewable power solution.

OZ Minerals will now invest $67 million to further progress the study with a final investment decision expected in 2022.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said the PFSU brought together nine months of focussed strategic and technical review, which added significant value and confidence in the project.

“The project continues to fulfil its ambition as a low carbon, low cost, long-life copper and nickel mine generating ~A$4.5 billion in undiscounted cashflow over the life of mine,” Cole said in a statement to the ASX last week.

“The value uplift to West Musgrave has further strengthened OZ Minerals’ strong pipeline of organic growth opportunities.

“With 100 per cent ownership of the project, we are now in a position to consider opportunities in the context of our pipeline and its timing and funding requirements with the objective of maximising stakeholder value.”

Tonsley green energy pilot produces first hydrogen

A pioneering hydrogen production facility in Adelaide has produced its first green hydrogen using a 1.25 MW electrolyser.

The AU$11.4 million Hydrogen Park SA at the Tonsley Innovation District is a project by the Adelaide-based Australian Gas Networks, which is part of the national Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG).

It has received a $4.9 million grant from the South Australian government’s Renewable Technology Fund to help build and operate the project.

The aim of the pilot plant is to use renewable energy to power the 1.25 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, which splits water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.

The renewable hydrogen will then be blended with natural gas and supplied to 710 customers in the adjacent suburb of Mitchell Park via the existing natural gas network.

AGIG CEO Ben Wilson commended the milestone but said “the final stages of commissioning” the plant had been pushed back until after Christmas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This decision means we have reforecast our aim to deliver Australia’s first renewable gas blend to households from 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 and we look forward to resuming the final stages of commissioning in early 2021,” Wilson said.

AGIG expects more than 700 residencies in parts of the SA suburb Mitchell Park will be the first recipients of the plant’s blended 5 per cent renewable gas, once its operational.

The Group has previously announced plans for a similar plant in Queensland and is developing a plan to introduce hydrogen into gas networks in Victoria and South Australia through the Australian Hydrogen Centre.

It is also assessing how hydrogen could be introduced into the AGIG-operated Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline in Western Australia.

Duxton sells only SA farm for $22 million

Publicly listed agribusiness Duxton Broadacre Farms will sell its only South Australian farm for $22 million.

The SA company announced to the ASX on Wednesday it would sell its Boorala property northeast of Naracoorte following a non-binding offer.

The Stirling-based business is in the process of finalising the sales agreement for the 1980-hectare farm. The property is home to 3000 ewes and 70 rams and also produces wheat, barley, canola and broad beans.

The sale leaves Duxton with three farms in central NSW totalling 19,465 hectares.

1414 Degrees pushes ahead with Port Augusta solar project

Energy storage company 1414 Degrees says it will fast track the development of its Aurora Solar Energy Project at Port Augusta following a recent $3.1 million capital raise.

The Adelaide-based company announced to the ASX last week it had accelerated the project on the site of SolarReserve’s ill-fated solar thermal project, which it bought 12 months ago.

1414 Degrees says project managers and engineering firms are proceeding with design of the substation and advancing the transmission connection agreement.

Key equipment suppliers have been selected for the major components comprising PV, batteries, inverters and a power management system.

The first stage of the hybrid plant will consist of 70MW of solar PV with a 70MW/70MWh battery system (BESS). The BESS can charge off the grid or from the PV, and both can participate in grid stability markets. Financial modelling is well underway to determine the most advantageous business case for inter-operation of the PV and BESS.

The company has previously flagged further stages would involve bringing the total amount of solar PV on the site to a maximum of 400MW and include the installation of one of its thermal energy storage systems.

The 1414 technology takes gas or electricity from any source and stores it as latent heat in silicon which melts at 1414°C. The energy from the latent heat can then be reclaimed and distributed as electricity and/or heat when required.

The company announced in October that its latest Share Purchase Plan (SPP) had closed with an approximate total of $3.1 million, exceeding the $3 million target amount by over $100,000. The board has decided to accept the oversubscription amount.

Santos signs long-term gas agreement

Santos has signed a long-term agreement to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation from its proposed Barossa project in the Northern Territory.

The SA oil and gas giant announced the agreement with Diamond Gas International last week for the supply and purchase of 1.5 million tonnes per annum of Santos equity LNG from Barossa for a period of 10 years with extension options, at a price based on the Platts Japan Korea Marker (JKM).

Santos announced in March it would slash its 2020 capital spend by $550 million and defer a final decision on the Barossa gas project in a bid to counteract plunging oil prices and coronavirus.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher told the ASX last week the Supply and Purchase Agreement with DGI was another significant step towards a final investment decision on Barossa, which is targeted for the first half of 2021.

“Barossa is a globally-competitive, low-cost brownfield LNG project providing new supply into a tightening LNG market, where JKM-based pricing is an increasingly deep, liquid and flexible marker for both sellers and buyers.

“Santos is delighted to establish a long-term relationship with Mitsubishi, a major Japanese company with deep LNG expertise.

“The SPA delivers a firm LNG offtake arrangement which represents over 80 per cent of Santos’ equity LNG volume from the Barossa project at our expected 50 per cent interest level following the previously announced sell-down to JERA, while the JKM-indexation provides portfolio balance to our existing oil-linked LNG offtake agreements from GLNG and PNG LNG.

“It also represents the first Santos long-term equity LNG sale from one of our major LNG projects, demonstrating our marketing capability to meet customer needs in the market.”

Santos’ share price dived from a 2020 high of $9.00 on January 15 to $2.75 on March 19, wiping more than $10 billion from its market capitalisation. Its shares have recovered about half the losses to be trading around $6.50 last week.

Portable emergency shelters win defence award

The company behind the portable emergency shelter village known as the Humanihut Field Infrastructure System last month took out the Estate and Infrastructure Business of the Year award at the 2020 Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards.

According to the company’s website, the huts are portable, climate-controlled shelters which provide secure housing for up to eight people.

The Lead previously reported the walls of the hut are steel skinned and insulated, helping the shelter to maintain a comfortable temperature, and have a lifespan of at least 20 years.

Humanihut was founded in Adelaide in 2013 with an aim to help house displaced refugees in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa.

The huts have since been used by the South Australian SES as well as having been sent to the Middle East.

Co-founder and managing director Neale Sutton said he planned to expand further overseas and anticipated having huts in Europe for marketing in March.

“We are committed to providing the best possible solution for rigid, rapidly re-deployable infrastructure, not only for defence and military personnel, but also for emergency services, the mining and construction industries, humanitarian organisations, and medical and healthcare agencies,” he said.

Sanitising system for shopping trolleys to be manufactured in SA

South Australian industrial automation company SAGE Automation has announced it will begin manufacturing and distributing a US-developed sanitising machine for shopping trolleys, known as Sanitizit, across Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement, Tonsley-based SAGE said it had partnered with the Sanitizit developer to manufacture, supply and distribute the new systems across the nation and abroad, with manufacturing to commence “soon”.

It follows a local market trial of the machines with Drakes Supermarkets.

The machines were developed in the US to sanitise shopping trolleys in retail shops, medical facilities and airports by providing a measured dose of sanitising solution over an entire trolley as it is passed through the unit.

They are intended to replace manual cleaning through a touchless system and reduce waste by eliminating cleaning wipes, which are sent to landfill.

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