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Queensland business briefs: Your daily Sunshine State update


The latest business news on Orocobre, Techniche, Sayona, Senex, Novonix, CopperString, Aeris Resources, Fiji Kava, Consolidated Tin, Megaport, Data 3, Alliance Aviation and more.

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Brisbane based lithium producer Orocobre has reported a 58 per cent boost to production in the December quarter from its Argentinian site.

Sales were also up 28 per cent and revenue 57 per cent to $US16.5 million ($A21.2 million). Cash costs also fell but the company said it had to shut its operations for two days to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak among its 35 workers.

Construction of its second stage was now 50 per cent complete but had been slowed by pandemic restrictions and would now start production in the second half of 2022. A scoping study for a stage three expansion will start in the March quarter.

It said it was in talks with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in relation to an expansion of lithium hydroxide production.

Sayona to start drilling

Sayona has flagged a $C2 million ($A2.03) drilling program at its Quebec Authier lithium project.

It is expected the program would 8700 metres of drilling and include 31 holes At Authier and 26 at Tansim.

Sayona also announced director Dan O’Neill has resigned from the company’s board.

No reason was given for the resignation of O’Neill who had been with the company for 20 years and had served as chief executive before the appointment of the current managing director Brett Lynch.

The company said it was reviewing the composition of its board which included the possibility of including new members.


Techniche quits ASX

Techniche has started the process of delisting from the ASX.

The company suspended its shares from trading ahead of the delisting taking effect on February 1.

The company said its shareholders were not benefitting from the listing because its shares were consistently undervalued.

It said removal from the ASX would allow it to rest the company valuation and open up the potential for alternate private market valuations, funding alternatives and strategic transactions.


Senex production boost

Senex now produces the equivalent of 10 per cent of Queensland’s gas demands.

The company said its Surat Basin gas production had reached 50 terajoules a day, equivalent to 18 petajoules a year.

Its Surat production for the December quarter was up 16 per cent and sales revenue rose 26 per cent to $28 million.

Managing director Ian Davies said the production milestone followed another “impressive” quarter for the company.

“Looking forward, we continue to aggressively pursue the development of low-risk, high-return organic growth opportunities as we progress towards our 2025 annual production target of 60 petajoules a year,” Davies said.


CopperString gets another $11m

The Federal Government will give the CopperString project another $11 million to help the Townsville to Mt Isa transmission project move to a final investment decision this year.

The project had previously received $5 million from the Federal GovernmentPrime Minister Scott Morrison said this support will help deliver this important energy project for the people of Queensland. The State Government also gave it $1.8 million.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the funding while touring Queensland today.

“Our support for CopperString is an investment in the future of Queensland that will bring power prices down, create 750 direct construction jobs and unlock the significant economic potential of the North West Minerals Province,” he said.

“Access to affordable and reliable energy supply will help drive new investment and new opportunities, providing a long-term future for families, businesses and local communities from Townsville to Mount Isa”.

Another Adani deal for DRA

DRA Global has won its second major contract on the Carmichael Project, delivering the $140m coal preparation plant, where the coal is processed and prepared for transport.

Bravus Mining & Resources (formerly Adani) chief executive David Boshoff said DRA was known for its exceptional service to the Australian resources sector, and previous work on the Carmichael project has demonstrated their experience and capability. DRA employs more than 700 people in Mackay.

“Mackay is renowned for its well-established mining services industry and it has always been our intention to engage services from regional Queensland wherever possible,” Mr Boshoff said.

“DRA will carry out the design, engineering and construction of our Coal Preparation Plant, in addition to the Coal Handling Plant that they are already delivering.

“We expect to see more than 250 people working on these combined projects onsite, ensuring regional Queensland cities like Mackay see the benefits going back into their local economies.”

Better results for Aeris

Aeris Resources is getting strong assay results from its Tritton project in NSW with high-grade copper mineralisation at a depth of 80 metres.

One drill hole returned 19.95m  at 2.41 per cent copper.

It has received regulator approval for 25 drill holes at its Constellation project.

Fiji Kava increases revenue

Fiji Kava almost doubled its earnings for the December quarter with revenue at $319,272, a 94 per cent increase.

Expenditure increased 22 per cent because of increased manufacturing costs.

Receipts from customers were $65,000 while cash flow used in operating activities included $372,000 in product manufacturing and operating costs, $137,000 in advertising and marketing and $397,000 in staff costs.

Money for tin

Consolidated Tin Mines has struck a deal with its major shareholder Cyan Stone for a $30 million loan.

The funds will be used to fund its acquisition of Auctus and for working capital.

The deal was struck at a 6 per cent interest rate.

The company had previously taken a loan from Cyan for $22 million.


Megaport gains an edge

Brisbane tech company Megaport had an 8 per cent rise in revenue for the December quarter to $18.7 million and recorded positive net cash flow from operations for the first time.

The company said the positive cash flow result was ahead of expectations and was the result of record customer collections.

“In the third quarter the company expects some one-off annual prepayments before reverting back to positive cash flow operations in a recurring basis in the 2022 full year,” Megaport told investors.

The results come as Megaport readies for the launch of its Virtual Edge product, which it said would allow companies to improve network functionality and enable them to connect to services globally.

“Cisco is the first technology partner to announce Megaport Virtual Edge integration with more integration partners planned in coming quarters,” Megaport said.

Chief executive Vincent English said Megaport was in an excellent position to grow its market share for cloud connectivity and the launch of Virtual Edge would open new channels to strengthen revenue.


Data3 lifts outlook

Business technology solutions company Data3 has reported that its pre-tax profit for the first half would be near the top of its guidance.

The company said that given current market conditions this reflected encouraging growth on the 2020 record first half.

“Subject to finalising the interim accounts and the audit review, the first half net profit before tax is expected to be approximately $13.7 million,” Data3 told the ASX this morning.

The full results would be announced on February 18.

Machinery sector waiting for impact

The full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be felt in the machinery sector across Australia after the capital equipment sector boomed in 2020. chief executive Steve Krebs said the business saw unprecedented growth throughout 2020.

“Demand for earthmoving and construction, metalworking, and woodworking machinery reached all-time highs in 2020, while demand for agriculture equipment and generators more than doubled, and demand for trucks grew by 142 from April to June,” Krebs said.

“COVID-19 has been a magnifying glass across the capital equipment industry, highlighting the strengths, and importance, of individual businesses and industries across the country.”

Mr Krebs said demand for used equipment is expected to skyrocket in 2021, with the stock of new machinery expected to dwindle in the coming months.

Alliance gets Newmont extension

Alliance Aviation has extended its contract with Newmont for three further years taking it up to 2024.

Alliance considers the deal is worth up to 7 per cent of its revenue.

Alliance flies into the Granites mine site in the Northern Territory from bases in Perth, Brisbane and Darwin.



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