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Conroy to visit US and India

The Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy will travel to the United States and India this week. In the United States he will hold high-level talks with representatives from the US Administration and Congress to advance the implementation of the pathway for Australia to acquire conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines through the AUKUS partnership. While in the US, Conroy will also visit the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Connecticut, where submarines, including the Virginia class, are produced for the US Navy. Conroy said: “I am pleased Congress will consider the US Administration’s draft legislative proposals, which are early necessary steps for the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines program. I look forward to continuing to work closely with both the Administration and Congress to progress key alliance priorities including enhancing the two-way transfer of technology and information, and meaningful engagement in the Indo-Pacific.” In India, Conroy will attend the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting in Varanasi.

Tech development needed for end-of-life solar panel challenge: UNSW

Experts at UNSW Sydney have said bespoke technology is needed to deal with end-of-life solar panels, the leading source of renewable energy generation in Australia. The International Energy Agency estimated in 2016 that Australia will generate 145,000 tonnes of waste from PV panels by 2030. Dr Richard Corkish from the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at UNSW, said the industry standard for most panels’ lifespans is 25 to 30 years, with systems installed over 15 years ago approaching end-of-life. “From a manufacturing point of view, the photovoltaics research community is trying to lengthen the life of the modules by making them more resilient to the environment, particularly moisture and oxygen, said Corkish. Dr Rong Deng said a major problem was the inability to economically extract rare metals. “The silver embedded inside the cells is highly sought-after because of its value in pure form. However, the challenge we face is how we do that cheaply and without adding to our carbon footprint,” said Deng. “But if continue down the path of using non-specialised technology to recycle PV modules, then we’ll still continue to end up with parts that are contaminated with other materials which is not a sustainable solution.”

Coles links with Planet Ark on waste

Coles has announced a new three-year partnership with not-for-profit Planet Ark to reduce food waste and packaging, and to tackle the challenge of plastic waste and recycling. The partnership will see the two organisations work together on waste reduction and recycling initiatives, according to Coles, whose General Manager, Sustainability, Brooke Donnelly, said, “Through this partnership, we can significantly assist Planet Ark to boost its program of work, including delivering additional campaigns, events and resources, with the overall aim of driving positive environmental change.” Planet Ark CEO Rebecca Gilling added that, “By committing to 100% renewable energy by 2025, pioneering initiatives to combat unnecessary packaging, and championing the Australasian Recycling Label, Coles has firmly established itself as a leader in driving positive environmental transformation.”

Viraleze approved in Malaysia

Starpharma announced on Monday that it has achieved regulatory approval for its antiviral nasal spray product, Viraleze, in Malaysia, allowing it and its commercial partners to market and sell the product in a new market of over 33 million. Viraleze — a nasal spray that works by physically trapping and blocking cold/respiratory viruses in the nasal cavity — had been successful launched in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, said the company, and it continues discussions with potential commercial partners in Malaysia as well as other countries. It is not approved for use or supply in Australia. Dr Jackie Fairley, CEO of Starpharma, commented: “Viraleze will be available immediately to consumers in Malaysia through an online webstore and Starpharma also plans to make the product available locally through retail outlets, including pharmacies, as it is in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, U.K., and Italy. We are encouraged by the positive uptake… in Asia and look forward to launching the product in Malaysia as soon as practicable.”

Camperdown Dairy equipment sells for $1.05 million

The board of Australian Dairy Nutritionals Group said on Monday that it had entered into an agreement to sell Camperdown Dairy’s fresh processing assets and transfer the lease of the Manifold Street processing site after market close on June 2. A purchase price is $1,050,000 and a deposit of $50,000 was payable on Monday, with settlement due to occur on June 26, subject to certain conditions. “If the sale does not proceed because a condition precedent is not satisfied the deposit will be repaid to the buyer” it said.
The buyer is a new entity incorporated in May 2023 for the purposes of this transaction, and shares common ownership with a food manufacturer and consumer brand owner “that has been operating for over 30 years and has significant experience in retail and food
service”. The proceeds of the sale will be applied towards ADNL’s general working capital requirements, the company told shareholders, and is also expected to deliver savings of $30,000 per month through the removal of residual costs associated with the discontinued operations at the Manifold Street site.

IDT Australia raises $5 million from investors

Drug developer and manufacturer IDT Australia has received $5 million in firm commitments for a share placement from sophisticated and professional investors. The placement was made at $0.065 cents per share a discount of 23.7 percent to its 15 day volume weighted average selling price. IDT shared dropped more than 20 percent on the ASX in early trade in response. Proceeds from the sale will fund the company’s capital expenditure programme and for working capital. Non-Executive Chairman Mark Simari said: “IDT has aggressively increased its business development activity since Paul McDonald’s appointment as CEO in September 2022. This has resulted in strong quarter on quarter growth for the last three quarters, and we expect this trajectory to continue.”

Leadership change at Incitec Pivot

Incitec Pivot announced on Tuesday morning that Jeanne Johns will be stepping down as Managing Director and CEO, with CFO Paul Victor appointed as interim CEO while the board searches for a permanent CEO. Johns will continue to work with the board and Victor until June 30 “to facilitate a smooth transition of her responsibilities.” The company’s Chief of Staff, Liza Somers, is now interim CFO. [Johns] leaves the Company in a  very strong financial position and with a solid platform for future growth,” Chairman Brian Kruger said. “Jeanne has also led some significant transactions that will create long-term value for our shareholders, including the urea offtake agreement with Perdaman and the recently announced sale1 of the Waggaman ammonia manufacturing facility in Lousianna, USA. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.” 

Breakthrough Victoria backs new clinical trials centre

The state government-backed investment fund Breakthrough Victoria announced on Tuesday morning that it is investing $10 million in a new eye clinical trials centre, which it says will provide Victorians with early access to new treatments aiming to prevent and cure blindness. The centre will be embedded within the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA, an independent medical research institute) at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024. Breakthrough Victoria said the centre will attract international clinical trials and allow local researchers and companies to conduct clinical trials locally, ensuring that “new eye treatments and technologies developed in Australia are trialled here to benefit local patients and the research and innovation ecosystem.” BV CEO Grant Dooley said, “Victoria has world-class medical research and public health services. Establishing the new eye clinical trials centre will help commercialise that expertise by providing clinical trials that benefit Victorians through early access to new treatments that could one day cure blindness.”

Picture: credit MTP Connect

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