Briefcase: Business Snippets from around South Australia

In this week’s briefcase, a leading South Australian manufacturer achieves zero waste to landfill, Power Minerals acquires a West Australian mining project, and the state government pens an agreement with a US defence state.

May 20, 2024, updated May 20, 2024
Kimberly-Clark's Millicent mill has achieved zero waste to landfill. Photo: supplied

Kimberly-Clark's Millicent mill has achieved zero waste to landfill. Photo: supplied

Kimberly-Clark Millicent Mill reaches zero waste

South Australian manufacturer Kimberly-Clark says it has achieved zero waste to landfill from its Millicent Mill through reuse and recycling initiatives.

The mill – which produces 85,000 tonnes of toilet, facial and paper towels annually – implemented changes such as producing all organic-based materials, offering used fabrics to the community, collecting used batteries and plastic pails, and repurposing waste into energy.

The Millicent mill had already achieved a 98 per cent reduction of waste last year, with the final two per cent reduced through a partnership with Waste ResourceCo.

Mill manager Adam Carpenter said sustainability had always been “a core value” of the company, and the mill remained “committed to furthering [their] environmental efforts”.

“Having surpassed our initial greenhouse gas reduction goal early in 2022, our current focus is on reducing our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 per cent, by 2030,” he said.

“As of 2023, we’ve achieved over 30 per cent in reduction efforts, so we’re well on track and actively exploring various avenues to drive this figure even lower in the years to come.”

– Isabella Kelly 

Power Minerals picks up prospective WA mine

Kent Town-based miner Power Minerals has acquired the Waterlander Project in Western Australia which is considered prospective for niobium and rare earth elements (REE).

The company says Niobium is a high-value, critical metal widely used in steelmaking as a strengthening agent and has an emerging application in lithium-ion batteries.

It adds to Power’s rare earth minerals portfolio, which includes the high-grade Dickson Well prospect in South Australia.

The company said the development of a lithium project in Argentina remained its “primary focus”.

The Waterlander Project is currently under application, but once a licence is granted Power will commence targeted fieldwork designed to define drill targets – subject to exploration results.

“The addition of the Waterlander Project is an exciting opportunity for Power to secure an early entry to an emerging world-class niobium province and complements the excellent REE results achieved from drilling at our Eyre Peninsula project,” Power Minerals managing director Mena Habib said.

“Niobium is a key critical metal, and we look forward to commencing exploration and appraisal at the project to gain a full understanding of the geological setting, so we can unlock its full value proposition.”

The company also signed a funding agreement with three Asian investment giants last week to support its Argentinian lithium project.

The $7.5 million strategic funding was “transformational”, the company said, and will fully fund the development and construction of the Rincon Project into a “significant lithium-producing operation”.

– David Simmons

Securing South Australia’s Water Future, a CEDA portfolio update with Deputy Premier Susan Close at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Thursday, 30 May from 12-2pm.

SA Outlook: view from the Opposition, a CEDA event exploring the economy and government regulation with SA Liberal Party and Opposition Leader David Speirs at the National Wine Centre on May 23.

RESERVED, a pop-up wine-tasting event hosted by the South Australian Wine Industry Association at the South Australian Museum on Friday, June 7.

SA State of the State: focus on critical service delivery, a CEDA event exploring critical services, the economy, government regulation, health and ageing with Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nick Champion at the National Wine Centre on July 24.

ANDHealth Digital Health Summit, an AusMedtech conference exploring AI, investment and industry trends in digital health, with Deputy Premier Susan Close at Stone & Chalk on May 21.

Seek survey finds that work-life balance is the most important priority for SA job seekers

Work-life balance is the number one priority for South Australian job seekers, according to a survey conducted by the online employment marketplace Seek.

Work-life balance was given a 16 per cent importance score by South Australians in the Laws of Attraction survey.

The survey also found that when job hunting, South Australians are attracted to salary and compensation (12 per cent), the working environment (12.4 per cent), management/management quality (9.8 per cent) and career/development opportunities (8 per cent).

According to the survey, South Australians are attracted to opportunities that offer greater flexibility, which they value more than work-from-home opportunities.

The survey found South Australians prioritise salary and compensation more than other regions, and consider overtime, additional superannuation and salary reviews must-haves.

The survey results are based on the responses of 14,700 Australians, including 570 South Australians.

– Jade Woollacott and Charlie Gilchrist

Household spending is up 0.3 per cent in South Australia, according to CommBank. Image: DAVE HUNT/AAP

Spending resilient in SA says CommBank

A new CommBank report described spending in South Australia as resilient, with household spending up 0.3 per cent in April.

The only other state to record growth in household spending of 0.3 per cent was Tasmania, while New South Wales saw spending rise by 0.1 per cent.

Victoria demonstrated some weakness, with spending down 1.2 per cent for the month.

Nationally, spending was down 1 per cent in April following an early Easter bump in March, with annual spending growth slowing to just 2.6 per cent for the year.

CommBank said its Household Spending Insights (HSI) Index remained below peaks seen in January, with spending on education, utilities, and motor vehicles rising in April.

Consumers pulled back on purchasing food and beverages, hospitality services and recreation in the month.

“Across the states, spending in Victoria continues to be subdued as NSW pulled away to sit with South Australia and Tasmania as the only states to post spending growth for the month,” CBA chief economist Stephen Halmarick said.

“We expect weak consumer spending and below-trend economic growth to continue throughout 2024, and despite recent inflation data surprising to the upside, we anticipate the RBA will cut interest rates in November this year.”

David Simmons

AML3D Limited’s ARCEMY® ‘X-Edition 6700’. Photo: AML3D.

AML3D secures extra funding for US expansion

Tech company AML3D has raised an extra $3 million for its plans to expand into the US after strong support for a Rights Issue encouraged the firm to raise further capital.

Announced in April, AML3D raised $3.9 million at 5 cents per share, with funds to help establish a manufacturing hub in Ohio.

Last week, AML3D revealed additional funds were raised to give it even more working capital to “take advantage of potential growth opportunities”.

That takes funding for the project to $6.9 million, with AML3D managing director Sean Ebert saying he was “delighted by the overwhelming support we have received from our existing and new shareholders”.

“We are now fully funded in our strategy to not only establish a US HQ and Manufacturing hub with a dedicated US national sales team in Ohio but also in having a sound working capital base to fund what we hope will be stronger than expected order flow in the future,” Ebert said.

“Having US-based operations will accelerate our penetration of the US Defence sector, in particular the US Navy’s submarine industrial base.”

David Simmons

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Flinders University

Flinders University. Photo: InDaily

New university degrees for planning professions

The state government and Flinders University have partnered to offer new planning and surveying degrees in an effort to increase the planning workforce.

Flinders University will collaborate with Planning and Land Use Services (PLUS) in the Department for Trade and Investment, and the Planning Institute of Australia to develop a program for urban and regional planning.

The undergraduate program will be developed in the next three to six months, with industry experts and professional bodies collaborating to help ensure practical requirements of the workforce are met.

There are currently no undergraduate planning programs on offer, with the state’s planning workforce having increased by just 35 per cent since 2006, representing the lowest increase in the country.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Nick Champion said the degrees would “provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet evolving challenges”.

“Addressing the shortage in planners will help South Australia tackle critical challenges such as housing affordability, population growth, and the transition to a more sustainable future,” Champion said.

Flinders University vice-chancellor Colin Stirling said the degrees would “address critical skills shortages in the construction industry”.

“Launching in 2025, our urban and regional planning degree will be an education pathway for future planners shaping the development of Australian cities and providing innovative approaches to sustainable and liveable communities,” Stirling said.

– Isabella Kelly 

North Terrace skyline. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Adelaide a hub of the real estate market, says property investment firm

Adelaide is becoming a central hub of the national real estate landscape with strong economic and population growth, said property investment firm Reventon.

The group said that Adelaide’s 41 per cent population growth over the past five years demonstrates the escalating demand for residential spaces and has led to a competitve real estate market.

According to the group, the areas of Blakeview, Angle Vale and Gawler have experienced annual capital growth of 17 to 22 per cent, with a 77 to 117 per cent increase in median house prices over the past five years.

“Adelaide’s real estate market is capitalising on extensive economic and infrastructural developments, marking it as an ideal locale for both seasoned and novice investors,” said Reventon Group founder and CEO Chris Christofi.

“The rental market is also showing vigorous growth, with increases of 15 per cent to 20 per cent year-over-year and vacancy rates at an impressively low 0.3 per cent to 0.8 per cent.”

Reventon also said that South Australia’s investment in major infrastructure projects such as the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital, airport upgrades and naval and mining projects contribute to Adelaide’s high ranking on the global liveability index.

“These projects are not just reshaping our city’s skyline but also its economic landscape, bringing thousands of new jobs and making Adelaide a top-tier destination for international and domestic investors,” said Christofi.

– Charlie Gilchrist

AUKUS pact penned with Maryland

The state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US state of Maryland to collaborate on developing a skilled workforce to deliver the AUKUS nuclear submarine program.

Premier Peter Malinauskas and Maryland Governor Wes Moore last week signed the MoU, under which the two states will connect local companies with shared areas of expertise, exchange knowledge regarding defence workforce development and skills, undertake trade and business missions between the two states, explore common research and development projects and share access to public research infrastructure and information.

The agreement signed builds upon an MoU penned by the two states in 2019 – which pre-dates the AUKUS agreement.

The state government said Maryland was a “national leader in defence, space and cyber”. The US state is home to 15 of the world’s top 20 aerospace and defence companies.

Malinauskas also visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre while in Maryland.

“This partnership with Maryland will ensure our government and our local businesses have greater access to the expertise in this state,” he said.

“In addition, we can build upon the long-standing partnership between the University of Maryland and University of Adelaide, particularly on defence, intelligence and security matters.

“As the home of the Australian Space Agency, it is important for South Australia to forge close links with NASA, the world’s leading aeronautical and space agency.”

David Simmons

The Adelaide Festival Centre is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its drama centre with the free 1974: Stage Two exhibition. Image: supplied.

Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre celebrates 50 years with new exhibition

The Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre are celebrating 50 years with the new 1974: Stage Two exhibition at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

The exhibition features memorabilia, costumes and artwork from throughout the drama centre’s history and includes costumes worn by famous Australian actors such as Sarah Snook, Cate Blanchett and Jacki Weaver.

The exhibition will also feature a human-sized pink seahorse costume from The Song of The Seals (1984) and a bottle of commemorative wine from the Dunstan Playhouse opening ceremony.

“From the outset, the Drama Centre is where you went to see bold, innovative theatre and we hope audiences enjoy seeing some of the highlights from the last half-century,” said Annie Egerton, Adelaide Festival Centre Exhibitions & Collections Assistant.

The 1974: Stage Two exhibition is free and will be open during performance times, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm.

– Louise Jackson

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