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Briefcase: Business snippets from around South Australia

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In this week’s briefcase, a Perth company says it is inching closer to resuming production at the Honeymoon uranium mine in the north-east of SA, a historic Adelaide pub announces a major revamp and a local market research agency launches a full-service consulting firm.

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Boss edges closer to second Honeymoon decision

The Perth company pushing to re-open the mothballed Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia’s north-east says its enhanced feasibility study on the project is 75 per cent complete.

Boss Energy says it is also planning a further exploration program at the site to drive increases in production rates and mine life.

It follows a review of its historical database that highlighted the significant potential to grow the inventory at Honeymoon, which is about 80km north-west of Broken Hill.

A limited scout exploration drill campaign has been completed, which Boss Energy Managing Director Duncan Craib said supported the view that there was “immense potential to grow the inventory at Honeymoon”.

Honeymoon is permitted to export 3.3 million pounds equivalent of uranium a year.

It says works to resume production at Honeymoon could be completed within a 12-month timeframe at a cost of about $81 million ($US63.2 million).

“We are now devising an exploration campaign to unlock this value. This will be done in parallel with completion of the EFS, project funding discussions and offtake negotiations,” Craib said.

Honeymoon is one of only four permitted uranium mines in Australia. It was mothballed in 2013 because it had become too costly to run.

However, Boss Energy announced in January last year it had developed technology to lower operating costs and was looking to commence production at Honeymoon in line with forecast increases in uranium prices.

The company expects its draft EFS to be completed in May with finalisation in the June quarter.

Historic pub revamp begins

A year after the closure of its Charlie’s Diner buffet restaurant due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 175-year-old Brighton Metro Hotel has announced a $2.6 million renovation.

The revamp of the hotel on the corner of Brighton and Sturt roads will include upgrades to the buffet, sports bar & gaming room with work already underway, according to the pub’s operator Australian Venue Co.

The upgraded 1846 pub, which will include the return of Charlie’s Diner, is slated to be launched in June but parts of the venue will remain open throughout the staged renovation.

Australian Venue Co operates more than 160 venues across Australia, including eight in SA.

It says the Brighton Metro renovation is part of a strategy to revitalise historic pubs across Australia and return them to the local community by improving the design, fit-out and offering.

“It’s an historic pub with a unique offering, so we’re excited to breathe some new life into it. We’re designing the entire venue with the local community in mind, so we’re being careful to preserve the elements people love while also bringing in exciting new offerings and a fresh new design,” said Chief Operating Officer Craig Ellison.

Poor results lead to credit rating slip for driller

Drilling services company Boart Longyear has had its S&P Global credit rating lowered to CC and its rating outlook moved to “CreditWatch Negative” following another poor result.

The company, which has its Australian headquarters in SA, last month reported a $127 million loss for the 2020 calendar year following a $73 million loss in 2019.

This prompted a review by ratings agency S&P Global, which lowered the company’s corporate credit rating from CCC+ to CC.

Ratings on senior secured notes lowered to “CC“ and recovery rating “4” while ratings on unsecured notes remained unchanged at “C“ and recovery rating “6”.

Boart Longyear is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Its Australian headquarters are in the Adelaide Airport Business Park.

In a statement to the ASX last week about the ratings changes, Boart Longyear said it was actively addressing its capital structure in order to create a more sustainable debt profile and provide additional liquidity to the company that will set it up to take advantage of future growth opportunities.

“Upon a successful restructuring with an improved capital structure, the company’s debt rating and outlook will improve significantly,” the statement said.

Established in 1890, Boart Longyear is in its 130th year as one of the world’s leading providers of drilling services, orebody-data-collection technology, and innovative, safe and productivity-driven drilling equipment.

The company’s share price closed at $0.48 on Friday, well below its $0.84 a share price on February 25, on the eve of its 2020 results announcement.

SA tourism bodies sign MoA to drive collaboration

The Tourism Industry Council of South Australia, Arts Industry Council of South Australia and Festivals Adelaide have signed a memorandum of understanding to drive cross-industry collaboration and “advance cultural visitation” in South Australia.

In a written statement, the entities said their collaboration would aim to create an “industry approach” towards the development of South Australia as an arts and cultural destination and work with government to shape policy for business development and growth in cultural tourism.

The group said its collaboration would also help to encourage systematic investment in the state’s cultural attractions and address the need for infrastructure development.

“This will be the first time that the three organisations will cooperate, signalling a new era of collaboration and cultural tourism advocacy,” the statement read.

“The memorandum recognises that South Australia has yet to maximise and optimise its potential as a destination for the cultural visitor, but that the opportunity is vast.”

Tourism Industry Council SA CEO Shaun deBruyn said the group would “work beyond our silos for the greater good of our sectors and those working in them” to help increase job numbers and strengthen businesses that had been hit by the pandemic.

“This alliance will deliver jobs and business stability in the short-term and growth for years to come, and will greatly increase our industries capacities and capabilities,” deBruyn said.

The peak bodies said they would initiate a series of industry events that would prioritise industry integration, coopetition and sustainability, while exploring the opportunities to connect with cultural visitation, the international education and business events sectors, as well as the food and wine industry.

Market research agency launches customer experience consultancy

South Australian market research agency McGregor Tan has launched a full-service customer experience consulting firm called expy.

Expy is being led by McGregor Tan director Jaclyn Thorne with the support of sociologist Sinteche van der Merwe and six staff.

McGregor Tan said it had developed expy after observing businesses that were challenged by inconsistencies across customer experiences, which impacted sustainability and profitability.

“Expy is a natural progression from McGregor Tan’s market research work in that the strategies we develop are data-driven,” Thorne said.

“We have witnessed firsthand the trends that are driving consumer buyer behaviour and have developed proprietary, data-centric strategies that allow businesses to design, improve, measure and evaluate their customer experience performance.

“A business with a great product offering is likely to ultimately lose customers by presenting a substandard mobile e-commerce offering or, from a brand perspective, failing to reflect certain values held dear by consumers.”

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