Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said “This was a solid quarter for production, including record output at our bauxite operations. Iron ore production was in line with last year, although iron ore shipments were impacted by an acceleration in our rail maintenance programme following poor weather in the first quarter. “We believe our focus on capital discipline, maximising cash flow from operations, driving productivity and portfolio shaping will continue to support the delivery of strong cash generation and shareholder returns.” Highlights Pilbara iron ore shipments were 77.7 million tonnes in the second quarter (100 per cent basis). Shipments were impacted by accelerated rail track maintenance. Iron ore shipments guidance for 2017 is around 330 million tonnes (previously 330 to 340 million tonnes). This takes into consideration first half production and further rail maintenance in the second half to improve track conditions. Record quarterly bauxite production of 12.9 million tonnes was seven per cent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016, driven by strong production at Weipa and Gove. Third party shipments of 8.0 million tonnes were achieved in the second quarter. Mined copper production recovered compared to the previous quarter, however was six per cent lower than the second quarter of 2016 as Escondida continued to ramp up following a labour strike. Titanium dioxide slag production increased by 34 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2016, reflecting higher market demand. On 26 June 2017, Rio Tinto confirmed Yancoal Australia as its preferred buyer of Coal & Allied, after an improved offer from Yancoal of $2.69 billion. Rio Tinto shareholders have since approved the sale. The sale is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2017. All figures in this report are unaudited. All currency figures in this report are US dollars, and comments refer to Rio Tinto’s […]
Australia’s manufacturing level is the OECD’s lowest and the long-term decline of manufacturing here is atypical among comparable countries, new research shows. University of Queensland Institute for Social Science Research researcher Dr Jenny Povey said Australia lost 122,400 manufacturing jobs in the decade to 2015. Australia lost 122,400 manufacturing jobs in the decade to 2015. “The sector now accounts for only 7.1 per cent of Queensland jobs,” Dr Povey said. Manufacturing’s share of national employment dropped from 30.5 per cent in 1965 to 7.8 per cent now, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union-commissioned study. “We can no longer hope to simultaneously outsource to countries with lower production costs and keep high-skill jobs here,” Dr Povey said. “Our research illustrates the decline in Australian manufacturing output is not typical and that Australia has the lowest share of manufacturing employment of any OECD country.” Dr Povey urged Australia’s federal and state governments to increase investment and intervention. “They should learn from Germany, if Australian manufacturing is to be saved,” she said. “The German government spends AUD$3.2 billion annually funding a network of research institutes to drive innovation, and their manufacturing sector contributes 22.6 per cent of GDP, underpinned by partnerships between researchers and industry. “The German model works to drive exports of manufactured goods and create jobs. “Manufacturing provides skills to other industries, and its decline will result in skills shortages in other industries, therefore a shift in Australia’s policy direction is required now. “Increased public procurement is an important facet of that change, and this research supports the notion that when we can make things in Australia, we should.” Economist and Australia Institute Centre for Future Work Director Dr Jim Stanford said the study supported research undertaken by his institute last year. “UQ’s report confirms the drop in manufacturing work is not normal or […]
The Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia (RWTA) has called on the Victorian Government to explain why it encouraged a business with a history of serial insolvency in Europe to enter the local market. The Andrews Labor Government last week welcomed plans by Dutch-‐based cold storage and logistics company NewCold to establish its Asia Pacific Headquarters in Melbourne’s west. However, an investigation by international Forensic and Risk Services company PKF has revealed NewCold’s European Directors have a history of insolvency associated with failed companies in the same industry. RWTA Chairman David O’Brien called on the Victorian Government to disclose any subsidies or financial assistance offered to NewCold’s establishment in Victoria, and to explain what due diligence has taken place. “Our own investigation found both of NewCold’s foreign Directors have been directors of companies that have gone into liquidation in the UK. How have they proved financial viability when there is a history of serial insolvency in Europe?” Mr O’Brien asked. “This should have raised the alarm for any Australian business or Government considering entering a commercial relationship with this firm,” he said. Mr O’Brien said he was extremely concerned that if NewCold decided to buy market share by price gouging, this would lead to job losses by destroying local players. “The Premier needs to explain what data he relied upon to support his promise of the creation of 127 jobs in a business which is highly automated.” The Australian cold storage industry is estimated to be worth about $6-‐billion, and is forecast to continue growing at around 2.5% per annum.
Statement by AMMA Chief Executive Steve Knott Australia’s resource industry welcomes the Turnbull Government laying out a roadmap to bring Australia’s company tax rate into line with the OECD average. While immediate support for small and medium businesses will provide junior miners, explorers and suppliers to the resource industry with welcome tax relief, the 10-year plan to have a 25 per cent company tax rate across the board will provide a great boost for investment in new major resource projects. The resource industry is in the business of long term planning and development, with multi-billion dollars investment decisions often having lead times of more than 10-years. Thus, certainty and stability is critical for Australia’s resource industry to remain a globally competitive place to invest, employ and do business. AMMA urges the opposition to take a bi-partisan approach to company tax reform; one that will see both major parties commit to the 25 per cent target within 10 years whether in government or opposition. These important budget measures must be complemented by other reforms that maximise the proportion of Australians in jobs, paying tax and generating growth. Australia cannot allow our unbalanced, increasingly uncompetitive workplace relations system to remain in a holding pattern, creating barriers to jobs and growth. The next Australian Government must tackle the growing imperative for workplace relations reform. Implementing key recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s review of our workplace relations framework would be a very positive starting point.
PIC CAP: CST Wastewater Solutions’ Managing Director Michael Bambridge who recently installed a GWE combined green energy and wastewater treatment plant for one of Australia’s major global beef processers, Oakey Beef Exports. (But wants a solution to the gap between promise and performance) A new study of Australiasian management attitudes towards environmental initiatives involving cleaner water and greener energy has found strongly increasing support among the people who are key to making such projects happen. The study, commissioned by CST Wastewater Solutions, finds industry is convinced about the potential financial viability of sustainable energy and water initiatives, if sanguine about the failure rate in Australia and New Zealand so far. The report, compiled by CST’s General Manager, Energy, Mr Andrew Boughton, is the result of 60 in-depth interviews with senior executives in industries such as food, beverage, agribusiness, processing, resources and energy, which have the greatest potential for new technologies such as wastewater-to-biogas being introduced to Australia by CST. The report shows respondents in Production, Engineering and Sustainability (PES) management have faith in the economics of sustainability investments, with over 90% disagreeing with the proposition, which is sometimes put, that sustainability is “never likely to be profitable”. “Yet for over 50% of end-users and two thirds of the consultants we interviewed, there is a “major gap” between the goals and outcomes of Sustainability, while nearly all end-users we interviewed in person believe there are “major shortcomings” or even “failures” in sustainable energy and water projects, particularly around financial payback. CFOs and engineering managers were particularly sceptical of “over-cooked” sustainability claims, and of vendors using ethical leverage – urging buyers to spend for the sake of the environment while ignoring their real business needs. The market, by contrast, feels the sustainability industry should become more cost-effective, and be sure that business gets […]
Tesla Motors’ decision last year to make all of its patents open to outside use has turned the industry on its head. By Stefano Picozzi, PaaS business development manager, Red Hat A/NZ Most industries are affected by disruption from technology so, to remain competitive, organisations need to keep up. Technology advances affect manufacturing, in particular. The industry is changing quickly, and the manufacturers that continue to prosper are those that keep pace with technology. Industrial solutions such as automation, resource management systems, and high-speed industrial design processes have helped manufacturers become far more agile and productive than they used to be. A manufacturer can only be as innovative and agile as the software on which these industrial solutions rely. However, not all software is created equal. The bulk of software solutions used in this industry is proprietary; owned, managed, and developed by a single company. This means new developments can be slower when it comes to innovation and best practice. Open source software, by comparison, is not owned by any single organisation; it is the result of a global community of millions of programmers. Because of the open and collaborative nature of this sort of software, with many minds contributing to its development, it can keep up with the agility and innovation that industry now demands. Organisations in many areas of business are increasingly seeing the value in the open source approach. The automotive sector is a good example. Digital design and automated manufacturing means developing a new car now takes a fraction of the time it used to. Tesla Motors’ decision last year to make all of its patents open to outside use has turned the industry on its head. Tesla made this unprecedented move in the hope that it would help drive the adoption of electric car platforms. […]
The Budget has finally been delivered after taking eight months to get here. And over this time we have been inundated by opinion from media (what is going to happen?), Labor (we’ll keep an eye out for broken promises) and the Libs who talked and talked about the mess they inherited. How come every new government inherits a mess? In the States when Bush took over from Clinton the Republicans inherited a mess (or did they?) and here in Australia Tony Abbot’s mob is playing on the same page. It’s a ruthless Budget, it’s a tough Budget…it actually stinks. Because the most vulnerable in the community have taken a step down on the ladder. The extra seven dollars they need to go to the doctor has to be found, the family assistance package is being trimmed and if you want the kids to go to uni they are faced with ongoing debt in the future. Government departments and organisations are being slashed and up to 16,000 more people added to the dole numbers. As for business, pensioners, health and education…you may as well go live on the land and grow herbs to keep yourself healthy, wealthy and wise. And through it all we have a Treasure who gives the impression of not quite believing what has come out of his mouth.
Small businesses in Australia remain cautiously optimistic about their future. The upcoming federal budget provides an opportunity to reinvigorate and support this sector, which employs 60 per cent of the Australian workforce, to create jobs. This boosts economic activity, which will ultimately create more revenue from taxes for the government. Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “SMEs remain cautious as they are looking to the new government to provide support and assistance to revitalise this important sector of the economy. There is no better encouragement for job creation than a reduced tax burden on small business. Every budget provides the government an opportunity to take action in this area. “Most small businesses have cut costs as much as they can and are now looking at ways to grow again. The government should look at ways to stimulate this growth by reducing red tape, offering tax breaks and incentives and working with the States to abolish State-based taxes, such as stamp duty and payroll tax, which were supposed to be addressed when the GST was introduced years ago. “Unfortunately, it seems the government is focused on a quick return to surplus, which means more budget pain for SMEs whose appetite to continue to invest and grow will potentially be deflated as a result of no significant changes to the tax system for SME’s. “The government should really address these issues, as a first step to a fairer tax system, which will facilitate the growth of the SME sector, and the Australian economy as a whole.”
Productivity Commission Chairman Peter Harris says in a report that Australia hasn’t been productive in recent years . “Australia’s productivity performance has fallen well behind that of most other developed economies for more than a decade. Reasons for this, include differences in the rate of investment growth. But the picture painted in the statistics calls for strong policy attention, particularly in the current era where the recent record terms of trade will no longer support continued income growth,” Harris said in a statement. The report focused on three important areas: the effect of price distortions on productivity; Australia’s 2012-13 productivity performance and productivity in manufacturing. Agriculture, mining, manufacturing, utilities and information technology showed the most unproductive trends, particularly businesses of petroleum, chemicals, small wine-makers, artisan bakers and regulated pricing of electricity and water. The agriculture industry productivity fell at 5.8 percent, minging at -4.9 percent, manufacturing at -0.5 percent, electricity, gas water and waste at -1.8 percent and and information, media and telecommunications at 7.2 percent. However, he said a good sounding policy could effect change. Harris pointed out the current policies of water companies, for example, were forced to invest in more costly sources like desalination and recycling instead of deciding to charge more when there is lack of supply. The chairman said this reduced productivity for the water industry. While economic experts debated that Australia has no productivity problem because of labour productivity, the growth in the industries overall were feeble. “It’s a global bother, but we are the ones with persistent negatives and that’s a bother to me. Whatever the case, it means we are not doing well enough to justify continuing high growth in incomes.” With the report, the commission sought to call the government to act on the problem through strengthening the labour market and improve […]
News that Sydney has overtaken Melbourne as Australia’s largest manufacturing centre speaks to the success of its many niche manufacturers, says Anthony Reed, Exhibition Director of National Manufacturing Week 2014 (NMW), in Sydney from 13-16 May. It is also good news for visitors to NMW, which is constantly evolving to reflect the latest trends. Designed to showcase technologies that help businesses build innovative, market-driven manufacturing capabilities, NMW is a significant opportunity for local manufacturers to arm themselves with the tools to maximise productivity, evolve their product offering and grow their business. Sydney’s manufacturing sector alone generated $21.7BN in 2012-13, with companies producing highly engineered medical and biotech products, as well as components for aerospace and advanced engineering sectors largely driving the growth. Other manufacturers are leapfrogging from their core local businesses to target the fast-growing Asian food and packaging markets, or diversifying to supply the mining equipment and services (METS) sector. Sydney is also building pools of highly skilled workers, especially in Greater Western Sydney where almost 100,000 – around half of Sydney’s manufacturing workforce – are employed. “Despite operating in a tough marketplace, Sydney’s manufacturers are gaining ground in global markets – and some are beginning to see a positive cycle where success builds on success,” adds Reed. NMW 2014 is bringing together transformative technologies from around the world for local manufacturing to see. NMW will present a record 15 Product Zones including dedicated areas for Sustainable, Digital and Additive Manufacturing, Machine Tools, Engineering Services and Advanced Materials. It will also incorporate Ausplas – Australia’s national trade exhibition for plastics technology – in Sydney for the first time since 1990. In an industry ‘first’ – and addressing the challenge for smaller companies to fund the research that underpins technological innovation – NMW will also put visitors in direct contact […]