Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Rio Tinto boosts stake in Australia’s second-largest smelter

Rio Tinto has acquired Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation’s interest in the Boyne Island aluminium smelter. It bought the 11.65 per cent interest in Boyne Smelters, which owns and operates the Gladstone, QLD based smelter, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition follows Rio Tinto’s agreement to purchase shares in the smelter from another Japanese firm, Sumitomo Chemical Company. Acquisition of Mitsubishi’s stake and Sumitomo’s 2.46 per cent share brings Rio Tinto’s holding in the smelter operator to 73.5 per cent. in a company statement, Rio Tinto says looks forward to continuing to work with its remaining Boyne Smelter joint venture partners, YKK Aluminium, UACJ Australia, and Southern Cross Aluminium on securing a competitive low-carbon future for its Gladstone operations.

SPEE3D previews upcoming large format metal printer

Food and bev manufacturing inquiry heads to Brisbane

The federal House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources will hold a day of public hearings in Brisbane on Thursday this week as part of its inquiry into food and beverage manufacturing. The day before, the Committee will visit Barambah Organics, the Health and Food Sciences Precinct jointly run by the Queensland Government, CSIRO, and the University of Queensland, and the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy at Queensland University of Technology. Committee chair, MP Rob Mitchell MP, said “After visiting several sites the previous day, this hearing will be an opportunity for the Committee to learn more about the wide range of research and development currently being undertaken for the food and beverage manufacturing sector.” The Thursday hearing will be from 9 am to 2 pm (AEST) at Queensland Parliament, 2A George Street, Brisbane City.

Business turnover up in April

Business turnover was up in seasonally-adjusted terms over April, according to figures Monthly Business Turnover Indicator results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday. Compared to April 2023, turnover was higher for all 13 industries tracked, except Mining, which fell 8.8 per cent. Robert Ewing, ABS head of business statistics, said: “The business turnover 13-industry aggregate has remained steady for the last six months, in trend terms. In seasonally adjusted terms, the 13-industry aggregate increased 1.5 per cent in April, the largest increase since September 2023. The most prominent rise was from the Professional, scientific and technical services industry, up 5.5 per cent. This was followed by Wholesale trade with a rise of 3.2 per cent and Transport, postal and warehousing, which grew 3.1 per cent.” According to the ABS’s figures, the MBTI for manufacturing rose 1.4 per cent (seasonally adjusted) from April 2023 to April 2024.

Former power station demolished to make way for green energy

Tasmania’s former Bell Bay Power Station has begun demolition works to replace the facility with a new hydrogen and methanol project. “Demolition works will allow ABEL Energy to commence construction of its Bell Bay Powerfuels green hydrogen and methanol project,” Tasmanian minister for energy Nick Duigan said. “Green hydrogen is a critical enabler in Australia’s energy transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future.” The planned new industry refinery aims to produce 300,000 tonnes of green methanol a year, and feature an export-scale green hydrogen plant.

Weapons maintenance specialist honoured in KB awards

Royal Australian Navy Petty Officer Stephen Dunlop (pictured) has received a Conspicuous Service Medal as part of the King’s Birthday awards for his leadership and commitment. According to a statement from Defence, by sourcing local suppliers, testing their solutions and then seeking approval, Dunlop increased the magazine capacity for the Hobart-class destroyer’s Mk45 gun by 40 per cent. His idea was “effective compared to another costly solution that involved manufacturing parts in the United States”, according to the statement. Dunlop has 14 years’ experience maintaining ships weapon systems and their thousands of moving parts. As well as the several weapon systems on board the destroyers, his team also maintain explosive ordnance cranes, torpedo doors and the fire sprinkling systems.

Wine Australia cancels Jindalee Road’s export licence

Government agency Wine Australia announced on Tuesday has cancelled the export licence held by Jindalee Road Wines, an entity operating out of the New South Wales Murray Darling. In a statement, Wine Australia said its Label Integrity Program investigation found that Jindalee had failed to meet its record-keeping obligations established by the Wine Australia Act 2013. “Wine cannot be exported from Australia without an export licence issued by Wine Australia,” it said. “There are no concerns about health or safety for consumers of the wine. However, wine label claims in relation to vintage, variety and region strongly influence people’s purchasing decisions. The licence cancellation reflects Wine Australia’s commitment to ensuring that consumers worldwide can be confident that label claims reflect what is in the bottle.” Jindalee may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision. Wine Australia said it will not be able to comment further as the matter is subject to an ongoing investigation.

Photo: credit Leading Seaman Thomas Sawtell, Defence Australia


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