Briefcase: Business Snippets from around South Australia

In this week’s briefcase, there is a new hotel for Tonsley, the Riverland wine industry gets a helping hand and SA fertiliser spreads to New Zealand.

Jan 23, 2023, updated Jan 23, 2023
Centrex's Ardmore Phosphate Project.

Centrex's Ardmore Phosphate Project.

Aerometrex flying high with government data project

Geospatial tech company Aerometrex (AMX) has been awarded its largest-ever LiDAR remote sensing contract to date.

Aerometrex CEO Steve Masters said the $1.88 million job comprises multiple areas across Australia for a Federal Government agency. Data delivery for the project is expected to be complete by the end of June 2023.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this work which builds on the sale of datasets to the Australian Federal Government in June 2022,” he said.

“This contract win validates the company’s decision to continue to invest in our LiDAR business through the acquisition and deployment of our fifth LiDAR sensor in Q2 of FY23 and represents the largest single contract award within our LiDAR division.”

The listed company has a market cap of $54 million and its share price jumped from 45 cents to 57 cents on the announcement of the project.

In July 2022, the Adelaide aerial mapping company was contracted to deliver a combination of photo and LiDAR imagery in the Pilbara region of Western Australia for mining giant Rio Tinto.

Aerometrex’s technology has also been used to support the NSW Flood Emergency response.

Fertiliser company spreads shipments overseas

Adelaide-based resources company Centrex (CXM) has reported significant growth in revenue to the ASX, with $7.5 million in phosphate sales during the past quarter.

The sales are on the back of its first bulk shipment of beneficiated phosphate rock from Townsville as well as its first international shipment to New Zealand.

Robert Mencel, the managing director of Centrex Limited, said these sales demonstrate the company has moved into a growth stage as a major phosphate miner and exporter with the highest-grade deposits in Australia.

“Monthly shipments are now part of normal business operations,” Mencel said

“We have successfully made our first bulk shipments and we have allocated three years of production with substantial customers, demonstrating that Australia can competitively meet our own and New Zealand’s phosphate needs in the future.”

The clients include Incitec Pivot, Ameropa, Samsung and New Zealand farmer-owned cooperatives Ballance and Ravensdown, according to Centrex’s quarterly activities report to the ASX.

Mencel said their Ardmore phosphate rock mine, 130km south of Mount Isa in Queensland, has ramped up production to help meet accelerated local and international demand.

“The Stage 1.5 Project aims to increase this production in the near term through low cost, high return capital investment, targeting a 625ktpa production output by predominantly using the existing facilities on site and is an interim step towards 800ktpa phosphate output with Stage 2,” he said.

Centrex is targeting to sell approximately 26,000 tonnes of product in the March 2023 Quarter, and 45,000 tonnes in the June Quarter on the back of a continuing strong phosphate price.

New hotel opens in Tonsley Innovation District

La Loft Hotel

The new La Loft Hotel in the Tonsley Innovation District. Image: supplied

The Tonsley Innovation District has its first hotel with the opening of the 88-room La Loft last week.

The four-and-a-half-star hotel, designed by South Australian firm Intro and constructed by Techne Build, is expected to employ 40 staff at full capacity and will cater to business visitors as well as students.

The six-storey hotel has 15 one-bedroom apartments for extended stays and 73 studio suites for shorter stays.

La Loft general manager Simon O’Callaghan said the hotel would cater to people working around Tonsley or needing a place to stay to visit the southern reaches of Adelaide.

“The Marion area is still underserviced, and it’s so well positioned as a gateway to McLaren Vale and to the southern suburbs, and the Fleurieu Peninsula as a whole,” he said.

“Marion area is underserviced by hotels and the new hotel is well positioned as a gateway to McLaren Vale and the Fleurieu Peninsula.”

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The hotel is the first commercial property to be connected to the blended hydrogen gas network at Tonsley’s Hydrogen Park SA and it also runs off the CleanPeak Energy network powered by solar panels on Tonsley’s MAB roof.

Join the discussion about agtech’s future in Australia

Agribusiness Australia is hosting Shifka Seigel, a project manager with Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce, for a talk on the future or agriculture technology in Australia.

Seigel is an agtech strategic advisor and has worked with some of the world’s leading agriculture government departments, companies and VCs.

The networking event will be held on Thursday, February 23, after the AgriFutures evokeAG tech conference is held in Adelaide.

Hosted by BDO and sponsored by Elders, the event will be held at the BDO offices on 420 King William Street from 5.00pm to 7.30pm and costs $80 for non-members. Bookings can be made here.

InDaily 40 Under 40 alumni Michael Macolino from SVG Ventures Thrive (APAC) and Jordy Kitschke from Flux Robotics will share their views on what new technologies will help advance profitability and sure up sustainability for agriculture in Australia.

Government grant to help Riverland wine industry

The Riverland wine industry will develop a 10-year recovery plan to counteract the economic problems it has faced in the past few years.

The blueprint will be funded by a $100,000 grant from the Government of South Australia to Riverland Wine, with the regional industry association contributing a further $50,000.

The Riverland wine region, which grows about 60 per cent of the state’s wine grapes, is facing an oversupply of red wine grapes. Sales of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon have fallen drastically because of the loss of the China market.

Lyndall Rowe, executive officer at Riverland Wine, said this has been compounded by high input costs and extreme inflationary pressure on global shipping rates which has strained Australian wine’s ability to be competitive on the global market.

Riverland grape growers and winemakers have felt the brunt of the increased costs, with recent floods further compounding these issues.

The blueprint will identify strategic priorities for the entire region’s wine industry to help it recover and improve productivity.

A steering committee with representation from across the industry and government will also be formed, with an independent chair, to ensure wide consultation and input from the entire supply chain.

AmCham seeking interest in US/UK trade mission

The American Chamber of Commerce in Australia is looking for companies to register their interest for an upcoming Defence and Critical Minerals Trade Mission to the United States and United Kingdom.

To be held from Monday, March 27, to Wednesday, April 5, the mission will visit London, New York and Washington to help Australian companies the opportunity to develop face-to-face business relationships through introductions and a curated trade mission program.

Delegate will also attend the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition in Washington and have site visits to major company headquarters and facilities.

Expressions of interest can be sent to [email protected].

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