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Australian Vanadium receives $14.7 million grant

Battery materials company Australian Vanadium has received a milestone payment of $14.7 million from the federal government under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Manufacturing Collaboration Stream. The grant provides up to $49 million to support the company’s Australian Vanadium Project to enable new critical mineral production which will support the domestic vanadium supply chain in the battery market. The first milestone payment of $9.8 million was received in June 2023. The grant supports the construction and commissioning of a crushing, milling and beneficiation plant and a high-purity vanadium processing facility capable of using green hydrogen.

Dongara Marine to build two new vessels

Western Australia’s Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport David Michael has announced Dongara Marine has been awarded a contract to build two new boats, as well as refit existing vessels for Department of Transport. The company built its first vessel for the department in December 2022. The new 8.3 metre cabin RIB will be nearly identical to 2022’s PV21, while the 7.0 metre cuddy cabin vessel (pictured) is very similar to the Marine Rescue vessels Dampier Angel and Bay Watch. Both designs come from Port Denison-based naval architects Southerly Designs, and a number of local suppliers and subcontractors will also work on the project.

Alpha HPA’s new battery metals orders

The announcing of the Final Investment Decision on Alpha HPA’s $500 million battery metals precursor plant at Gladstone, Queensland has netted a number of new orders for the company. The aluminium chemicals company has secured orders from multinational companies including 3M, Merck, Entegris, Tokuyama and Saint Gobain. The company has won pre-commercial orders for product qualification work for the semiconductor sector and as Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) catalysts. The new plant will manufacture up to 10,430 tpa of ultra-high purity aluminas, alumina hydroxides and aluminium nitrate precursors.

Australian Dairy Nutritionals appoints new CEO

Infant formula manufacturer Australian Dairy Nutritionals has appointed Mahinthan (Mahi) Sundaranathan as Chief Executive Officer. Sundaranathan has more than 20 years experience in the dairy industry in the Australian, Chinese and and Asian markets. He held senior roles with a2, Danone MG Australia and Fonterra Brands. AHF Chair Peter Nathan said: “Mahi has a deep knowledge of the infant formula category in China and we look forward to the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Mahi will bring to the role as our new CEO.”

Cardiex arterial health devices arrive in the United States

Health technology company CardieX has announced that its initial production units of the Conneqt Pulse arterial health monitoring device are scheduled to arrive in the United States in the first week of July. These units are being distributed to the company’s initial ‘pilot’ partners, key opinion leaders (KOL’s), and members of the company’s clinician network. The first 3,000 unit production run and deliveries to the US are scheduled for Q1 FY25. Conneqt Pulse utilises the company’s SphygmoCor biomarker technology in a Dual Blood Pressure and Arterial Health Monitor.

entX awarded grant for nuclear isotope extraction

EntX has been awarded funding under round one of the Economic Recovery Fund (ERF) by the South Australian Government for Manufacturing Innovation. The company’s project, focused on Isotope extraction through its IsoMedica Nuclear Medicine brand, has been granted $1.901 million to drive innovation and growth. According to the company: “At entX, we will match this grant to assist us accelerate our efforts to advancing the sovereign nuclear supply chains through manufacturing innovation and contribute to the state’s economic development.” The $154.2 million ERF aims to bolster business and industry across South Australia by creating secure, well-paid jobs, enhancing productivity, increasing exports, and fostering innovative technologies.

Fleet Space and Inflection Resources on the space hunt for copper

Nanosatellite developer Fleet Space Technologies and Inflection Resources are pioneering the use of space technology and AI to accelerate the discovery of large-scale copper-gold deposits in Australia’s Macquarie Arc. Leveraging the real-time Ambient Noise Tomography (ANT) survey capabilities of Fleet Space’s mineral exploration solution, ExoSphere, Inflection Resources has identified several new priority targets under a thick sequence of sedimentary cover masking the underlying, older prospective geology at their Duck Creek project in New South Wales. Inflection Resources will deploy ExoSphere on a significant part of their tenement portfolio extending over approximately 1818 Km² in the Macquarie Arc of the Lachlan Fold Belt.

ACCC ‘concerned’ over takeover of Namoi Cotton

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has issued ‘preliminary competition concerns’ over Olam Agri Holdings’ proposed acquisition of Namoi Cotton. Olam, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Queensland Cotton, and Namoi both supply cotton ginning, cotton lint classing, logistics and warehousing services. The ACCC is concerned that the proposed acquisition would be likely to substantially lessen competition in the supply of cotton ginning services in the Lower Namoi Valley in New South Wales and the supply of cotton lint classing services. “The proposed acquisition would reduce the number of competing ginning suppliers in the Lower Namoi Valley from three to two, with Olam operating four of the five cotton gins if the acquisition proceeds,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

Hexagon Energy Materials raises cash for ammonia project

Hexagon Energy Materials has completed a funding round to take the Company to the FEED stage of its WAH2 low-emissions ammonia project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. A funding round of $1 million has been completed with funds to be used to progress technical work, regulatory approvals and commercial negotiations with key service and offtake partners. An additional, similarly structured, funding round of up to $0.75 million is being progressed so that it can be executed if necessary.

International team claims nanoscale force measurement breakthrough

A new way to measure incredibly minute forces at the nanoscale in water has been developed, according to a statement from RMIT University. The university — whose researchers collaborated with those in Beihang University in China and others including The Australian National University and University of Technology Sydney — said on Friday that it helped develop a new technique involving “a super-resolved photonic force microscope (SRPFM)” and which is “capable of detecting forces in water as small as 108.2 attonewtons”, which is comparable to measuring the weight of a virus. Lead researcher from Professor Fan Wang from Beihang University said the key is in the use of lanthanide-doped nanoparticles, trapped by optical tweezers, which are then used to probe the minute forces at play within biological systems. Co-first author, RMIT’s Dr Lei Ding, said the innovation enhances the resolution and sensitivity of force measurements but also minimises the energy required to trap the nanoparticles, thereby reducing potential damage to biological samples.

Aurora appoints defence expert to board

Additive manufacturing company Aurora Labs has shared the appointment of senior defence advisor Andrew Garth as a non-executive director. Garth is currently Managing Director of consultancy DIAS and is an aeronautical engineer by training, with previous roles in a two-decade career including as Senior Program Manager at GKN Aerospace. According to Aurora, the appointment will enable it “to increase its pivot to close partnering relationships with Defence oriented clients.” Concurrent with Garth’s appointment, current non-executive director Mel Ashton will step down. Chairman Grant Mooney added: “On behalf of the Directors, I would like to formally welcome Andrew to the Board and thank Mel for his stewardship and guidance as a non-executive director over more than 6 years. Mel helped guide the Company through the complexities of downsizing the operations during COVID to the recent pivot toward Defence related services.” 

Picture: credit Fleet Aerospace

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