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CSL opens new HQ and R&D centre

Biotechnology giant CSL has opened its new Headquarters and Centre for R&D which will house more than 850 people dedicated to protecting public health and bringing life-saving innovative therapies to patients. The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) congratulated CSL on the opening. Albanese said: “This world-leading research will help people with asthma – and it’s done right here in Melbourne at CSL. We saw during the pandemic just how important it is to be able to manufacture and research medical products here in Australia. And that’s why we’ll invest in areas like medical and advanced manufacturing through our National Reconstruction Fund. It’ll mean more things made here in Australia, and more well-paid secure jobs.”

Driverless cars no place to relax, new study shows

Research led by RMIT University looked at what happens if a driver is suddenly required to take control of an automated vehicle, such as in an emergency, with a series of papers examining how experience and three types of distractions (work, social media and rest) impacted on the driver’s ability to respond. Lead author Dr Neng Zhang said authorities need to begin drafting policies to regulate the responsible use of automated vehicles before Level 3 and 4 automated vehicles appear on Australian roads. Biomedical researcher and author on the papers, Professor Stephen Robinson, warned that emergencies require a high level of cognition. “As soon as something unexpected happens, such as a child running across the road, we need to be able to use our full cognitive abilities to assess the situation and take appropriate action,” he said. The team is now investigating how to stimulate alertness and improve effectiveness of driver takeovers.

Simon Linge appointed Managing Director, Lithium Australia

Lithium ion battery materials group Lithium Australia has appointed its CEO Simon Linge to the company’s board as Managing Director. Linge has more than 25 years experience in manufacturing, recycling and engineering services. Prior to joining the company, Linge held senior executive roles at Pack Group and was MD and CEO of Bradken. Lithium Australia’s CEO since January 2023, Linge developed a partnership with Mineral Resources, which is funding the development of a pilot plant to test the company’s lithium extraction technology.

Hazer Group completes entitlement offer

Technology development company the Hazer Group has raised $14.7 million through a non-renounceable entitlement offer. The funds will support the operations of the company’s commercial demonstration plant in Perth utilising the Hazer Process. The process converts biomass to low-emissions hydrogen. A second plant is to be constructed in Japan utilising the process.

Iluka Resources progresses rare earths refinery

Iluka Resources is pressing ahead with the construction of Australia’s first fully integrated rare earths refinery at its Eneabba monzanite deposit north of Perth. The company told investors bulk earth works and ground improvement works were underway with comp[letion expected in Q4, 2023. The upgrade of the accomodation camp is now complete. Engineering services provider Fluor Australia continues to progress key design elements for the refinery, which has the support pf the federal government through a $1.25 billion non-recourse loan to Iluka under its Critical Minerals Facility. The Eneabba refinery will produce neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium – critical materials for high technology products such as electric motors, touch screens and computer hard drives.

Professor Emma Johnston joins CSIRO board

The Australian government has appointed Professor Emma Johnston as a part-time member of the CSIRO board, for a period of four years commencing Tuesday this week. The board is accountable to the government for the overall strategy, governance and performance of the national science agency. Johnston is Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney, a globally-recognised authority in marine science and conservation, and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018. “Professor Johnston’s impressive marine science credentials will bring environmental expertise to the CSIRO Board, complementing the board’s existing skills and experience, said industry minister Ed Husic in a statement.

Queensland government’s IPP gets $53.5 million funding increase

The Queensland government has announced a $53.5 million boost to its Industry Partnership Program (IPP), bringing it to $415.5 million, with the new allocation of IPP funding now officially open. The additional funding means the IPP “will support more key projects that are focussed on growing Queensland’s priority industries, strengthening our local supply chains, encouraging collaboration between all levels of government and industry, and leveraging private sector investment” according to a statement from deputy premier Steven Miles. It will focus on the following key priority areas: critical minerals processing, manufacturing and product development; renewable energy manufacturing; battery industry development; green hydrogen; bioeconomy including biofuels and sustainable aviation fuel; circular economy including resource recovery and recycling; and biomedical.

Vast Solar’s new CFO

Concentrated solar power (CSP) developer Vast Solar has appointed Marshall D. (Mark) Smith as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective September 18, 2023. Based between Vast’s Sydney headquarters and Houston, Texas, Smith brings more than 30 years of experience, including energy industry expertise and leadership in operations, capital allocation, business development, and financial management. Most recently, he was CFO for a Texas-based privately held oil and gas company, having previously served as CFO for Guidon Energy. “It’s an honor to be joining the world-class team at Vast to accelerate its promising CSP technology that solves one of energy’s most enduring challenges – intermittency,” said Smith. “I look forward to working with the team to develop its pipeline of Australian, US, and international projects to bring low-cost, zero carbon, dispatchable energy to the world.”

Global steel production up over July

Crude steel production for the 63 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 158.5 million tonnes (Mt) in July 2023, a 6.6 per cent increase compared to July 2022. The biggest growth was in Africa, producing 1.4 Mt in July 2023, up 26.1 per cent versus July 2022. Asia and Oceania produced 119.9 Mt, up 9.1 per cent, the EU produced 10.3 Mt, down 7.1 per cent. The Middle East produced 3.1 Mt, down 3.9 per cent, North America was 9.4 Mt, down 1.2 per cent. Russia & other CIS + Ukraine produced 7.4 Mt, up 9.3 per cent.

Picture: Anthony Albanese at CSL’s new headquarters

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