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Nufarm rides good farming conditions to rising profit

Agricultural seeds and crop protection manufacturer Nufarm has ridden agricultural commodities at above average levels to report underlying net profit after tax up seven percent on the previous corresponding period to $142 million in the six months to 31 March, 2023. Gross profit was $609 million, while underlying EBIT profit was down four percent on revenue of $2.0 billion. Nufarm’s crop protection products performed well in Europe while APAC and North American earnings were down. Seed Technologies delivers a strong result with revenue up 25 percent in core seeds, omega-3 and bioenergy platforms. Managing director and CEO Greg Hunt said the ‘excellent’ result was driven by the company’s transformed structure and focus on innovation and differentiated solutions. “Our diverse portfolio and geographic footprint provide earnings stability and resilience, while our omega-r3 and bioenergy platforms provide significant growth potential.”

ASM awarded $6.5m grant for rare earths project

Rare earths producer Australian Strategic Materials has been awarded grant funding of $6.5 million under Tranche 2 of the federal government’s Critical Minerals Development Program (CMDP). Announced by the Minister for Resources Madeleine King, ASM will receive the funding to progress the Dubbo Project’s EPC Definition activities with respect to non-process infrastructure. The funds will advance design maturity of residue and storage handling facilities, site water management, utility design and supply, greenhouse gas emission reduction studies and site establishment planning. ASM is producing critical metals used in high technology products at its Korean Metals Plant, with feedstock coming from Vietnam. In 2022 Hyundai Engineering Co., Ltd were awarded a conditional contract for engineering, procurement and construction definition work (EPCD) for the light and heavy rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium mining project at Dubbo.

SciDev awarded $9.5 million contract by First Quantum Minerals

Wastewater treatment technology company SciDev has secured a three-year contract with the Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation in Western Australia, part of the First Quantum Minerals group. The project, for the supply of the company’s MaxiFlox treatment chemistries as well as consulting, is worth $9.5 million. The contract follows extensive onsite trials at Ravensthorpe that demonstrated ‘superior operations efficiency and productivity benefits of MaxiFlox, according to SciDev CEO Sean Halpin. The contract is part of $37 million worth of new contract value secured in the past two months. “We remain actively engaged with a number of international and domestic resource clients and we expect the sector to deliver growth opportunities for SciDev in FY23 and beyond.”

DroneShield receives remaining payment for $11m order

Drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield has received the remaining payment for the delivery of its biggest-ever order for $11 million received from an Australian government agency. The payment for $5 million will be reflected in sec ond quarter results. DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik said: “We have received incredibly positive feedback from the deployment of our equipment under this order and are under discussions for follow-up purchases from this customer.” Vornik said the company has a contract order book of $18 million.

Queensland New Industry Development Strategy launched

The state government launched a new Queensland New Industry Development Strategy (QNIDS) on Friday, which it says will help “capitalise on a new wave of economic growth… to develop industries that will be in hot demand in a decarbonising world.” The strategy, announced on Friday, will establish a state-wide Local Economic Opportunities Network, “so Queensland communities can identify opportunities on the ground” and target six key areas: Renewable energy manufacturing and infrastructure; Critical minerals processing, manufacturing and product development; Battery industry development; Green hydrogen; The circular economy, including resource recovery; and the bioeconomy including biofuels and sustainable aviation fuel. The strategy can be read here.

Critical tech list updated by federal government

Also on Friday, the Australian government announced that it has updated the List of Critical Technologies, which they say help secure Australia’s future and currently underpin many aspects of daily life. The updated list “focuses on key enabling technology fields that will have a high impact on our national interest, including by providing opportunities to grow our economy, provide well-paying jobs and improve the lives of Australians,” according to a statement on Friday. The updated List of Critical Technologies now includes Advanced manufacturing and materials technologies; Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies; Advanced information and communication technologies; Quantum technologies; Autonomous systems, robotics, positioning, timing and sensing; Biotechnologies; and Clean energy generation and storage technologies.

Picture: Seeds and crop protection manufacturer Nufarm enjoyed a strong six months

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