Mark Latham Commodity Equity Intelligence Service

Monday 22 April 2024
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Asia Top Stories: The Yuan?

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 19 April 2024.

Asia petrochemical shares tumble on Mideast concerns; oil pares gains

By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Apr-24 15:43 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Shares of petrochemical companies in Asia slumped on Friday, while oil prices surged amid escalating tensions in the Middle East following reported explosions in Iran, Syria and Iraq.

Oil gains on fresh Venezuela sanctions, Iran concerns

By Nurluqman Suratman 18-Apr-24 12:48 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices rose on Thursday, reversing sharp losses in the previous session, after the US re-instated oil sanctions on Venezuela, and amid discussions by the EU about implementing new restrictions on Iran.

INSIGHT: Bullish and bearish sentiment intertwines in April Asia chemical prices outlook – ICIS analysts

By Joey Zhou 17-Apr-24 18:29 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–There is a mixed outlook for petrochemical prices in Asia in April. Upward support comes from stronger crude oil price forecasts. The supply of some chemicals is relatively tight on plant turnarounds and operating rate cuts.

PODCAST: Asia recycled polymers slow in 2023; legislation, waste management to shape future

By Damini Dabholkar 17-Apr-24 18:18 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia recycled polymers markets were sluggish for the most part in 2023. In early 2024 too, challenges that dim the short-term outlook persist.

Singapore March petrochemical exports fall 3.6%; NODX slumps 20.7%

By Nurluqman Suratman 17-Apr-24 13:22 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Singapore’s petrochemical shipments in March fell by 3.6% year on year to Singapore dollar (S$) 1.16 billion ($853 million), extending the 2% contraction in the previous month and weighing on overall non-oil domestic exports (NODX), official data showed on Wednesday.

China’s recovery gains pace after Q1 GDP growth; property, trade headwinds remain major hurdles

By Nurluqman Suratman 16-Apr-24 13:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–China’s economy grew stronger-than-expected in the first quarter of this year, expanding by 5.3%, but ongoing challenges in the real estate sector, slowing exports and persistent deflationary pressures remain as major risks to its recovery.

Oil eases despite Iran attacks on Israel; Asian bourses rattled

By Nurluqman Suratman 15-Apr-24 12:46 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Oil prices eased on Monday as Iran’s attacks on Israel over the weekend were largely priced in by the market, according to analysts, but Asian equities tumbled amid concerns over recent escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

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Election Season Just Getting Started

Local elections might be over, with new and returning councilors appointed across the state last month, but in truth, election season has only just begun.

Six months from now we'll be heading back to the polls, chowing down on another democracy sausage as we select our next State Government.

And while the date for next year's federal election is yet to be set, it's expected we'll be called upon to do our civic duty once again in the first half of 2025.

Of course, all elections matter, as each branch of government is responsible for different services and policy areas. But, from an industry perspective, the state election is the big one.

The Queensland Government is responsible for many decisions that impact the day-to-day operations of sugarcane farming businesses.

Whether this impact is felt through more red tape and regulation, funding for research and innovation, or backing a new biofuels industry in Queensland, one thing is certain - over the next four years, the State Government will set policies that either smooth the way for industry evolution and growth, or stifle growth, making operating profitably more difficult for farmers.

We all know that politicians prefer to be non-committal unless pushed. Well, in the lead-up to the state election, CANEGROWERS will be pushing for some very firm commitments from those seeking to lead our state.

For months now, the Labor Government has been making all the right noises about Queensland's potential as a Sustainable Aviation Fuel powerhouse. But pleasant words don't put boots on the ground.

Building a new and innovative industry from scratch takes money - a lot of money - and to date the government hasn't made any game-changing investments. That has to change.

It's not just important for the sugarcane industry, it's important for our regional communities, it's important for the Queensland economy, and it's important for Australia meeting its emissions reduction targets.

Of course, this is just one of the many issues we'll be pressing politicians on in coming month.

Bread and butter issues like energy and water prices, research funding, and partnering with industry on environmental and other issues are also high on CANEGROWERS' agenda.

The countdown to October 26 has begun. It's time for our future leaders to start telling us how they plan to lead Queensland in a positive and prosperous direction.

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Employer cancels driverless truck plan at coal mine

A major mining company will not automate heavy vehicles at one of its operations.

Whitehaven Coal recently stopped trialling its autonomous haulage systems (AHS) at the Maules Creek mine. Management reached the decision after labour shortages eased.

“We will move back to a fully manned frame of operation there in the third quarter, so the March quarter [of 2024],” managing director Paul Flynn said at an investor update.

“The decision obviously to move back demand at AHS obviously was influenced by the fact that we do have labour available to us. That has improved … [and] we are seeing greater access to the skills that we need.”

Flynn also indicated the mine would not use driverless trucks for the unforeseeable future.

“A decision to conclude the autonomous haulage trial and resume fully manned operations was taken during the quarter and the operation is now operating fully manned,” he said.

The remarks came months after 300 employees rejected Whitehaven’s bid to introduce WorkChoices agreement offsets, which reportedly absorb future superannuation increases and strip those affected of up to $100,000 in accrued entitlements. This was feared to affect those planning to retire or accept a redundancy package.

Very negative feedback prompted management to withdraw its proposal.

“We have heard your feedback about the guarantee of annual earnings clause and the potential for this to remove entitlements that people currently enjoy. This is not Whitehaven’s intent,” executive general manager – operations Ian Humphris previously said in an internal email obtained by the Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA).

“Whitehaven will be issuing a contract amendment to remove the guarantee of annual earnings clause. This will ensure all transferring Blackwater and Daunia staff can continue to enjoy their current entitlements once they become Whitehaven employees. Whitehaven will also apply this to open cut overseers.”

CSOA congratulated employees on an “incredible win” at the time.

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Omnicom Q1 2024 Results: Revenue of $3.6 bn, with organic growth of 4.0 percent

Global advertising holding company Omnicom announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2024. Reported revenue in the first quarter of 2024 increased $187.2 million, or 5.4%, to $3,630.5 million. Worldwide revenue growth in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023 was led by an increase in organic growth of $136.9 million, or 4.0%. Acquisition revenue, net of disposition revenue, increased revenue by $53.0 million, or 1.5%, primarily due to the Flywheel Digital acquisition in the Precision Marketing discipline. The impact of foreign currency translation reduced revenue by $2.7 million, or 0.1%.

Organic growth by discipline in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023 was as follows: 7.0% for Advertising & Media, 4.3% for Precision Marketing, 9.5% for Experiential, and 2.1% for Healthcare, partially offset by declines of 4.3% for Execution & Support, 3.8% for Branding & Retail Commerce, and 1.1% for Public Relations.

Organic growth by region in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023 was as follows: 4.3% for the United States, 3.5% for Euro Markets & Other Europe, 22.3% for Latin America, 3.0% for Asia Pacific, 3.2% for the United Kingdom, and 1.1% for Other North America, partially offset by a decline of 4.2% for the Middle East & Africa.

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Sky-high expectations from BJP may trigger profit booking in stock market post elections, says Bernstein

Bernstein in its latest noted said that despite the opinion poll data making the 390-400 target look almost certain for incumbent BJP, it believes the gain of seats for the PM Narendra Modi-led party in low penetration states may not significantly exceed the loss in others. The chances of a minor gain look high, Bernstein said adding that there are low probabilities of deviating significantly above and below its 2019 tally of 350.

Bernstein said with sky- high expectations having set in, a number near to the 2019 value might trigger a short-term negative reaction. "We believe a profit-booking post-elections is coming anyway, and the election results will only serve as a trigger point for the inevitable," it said.

Eventually, Bernstein said, the macro story will take over, and as it stays healthy, we expect modest downsides.

Bernstein said the year 2024 with Indian markets at record valuations, particularly in the small and mid cap spaces.

A pre-election euphoria is building up, where the previously set expectations of continuity of power are further augmented by the ruling party coalition possibly winning over 400 seats, it said.

This is something started by the incumbent party and is being legitimised through opinion polls of TV media, which are giving the NDA coalition as many as 411 seats, it argued.

"The NDA got 350 seats in the last election, so where are the additional 50 seats coming from? The most obvious answer is the southern belt, where it won merely 5 out of 101 seats in 2019. But even that isn’t a cakewalk. The inroads in Kerala, though historic, will likely be limited to 1-2 seats. Even Tamil Nadu isn’t expected to be much fruitful," Bernstein said.

Besides, it felt that gains must come from AP, Telangana, West Bengal and Odisha. "Many of these will see closely fought contests with seats swinging wildly," it said.

With so much to lose and almost nothing to gain, execution of ‘Plan 400’ will be far more challenging than setting targets, Bernstein said.

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Oil and Gas

Study shows US LNG is much cleaner for Asia than coal use

A study by research group Berkeley Research Group shows that lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from US liquefied natural gas (LNG) are significantly lower than coal and pipeline gas resources being used by nations in Asia.

The four-year study, commissioned by US industry body LNG Allies, has been released against the backdrop of a halt to LNG export approvals announced by the US Government in late January.

The research tracks lifecycle emissions from US LNG from upstream production, through liquefication, shipping and then use in power generation in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

It compares these emissions against those of coal and pipeline gas use in these countries.

It found that US LNG greenhouse gas emissions are 53 per cent lower than coal and on average 63 per cent lower than pipeline gas from Turkmenistan and Russia.

The study estimates that use of US LNG in place of coal in Asia in 2022 alone resulted in as much as 130 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being avoided.

"This is a very comprehensive report – and it shows why approvals for US LNG exports must be resumed quickly," Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association CEO Paul Everingham said.

"The report illustrates the importance of US LNG to Asia, as a fuel that supports emerging nations to access energy needed for economic growth while also reducing emissions from power generation.

"Large parts of Asia, particularly South Asia and Southeast Asia, remain heavily reliant on high-emitting coal for electricity.

"This report clearly demonstrates that generation from US LNG in Asia has a far lower emissions profile than coal - especially so for combustion, where the emissions intensity of coal was nearly three times higher.

"The study also found that the upstream emissions profile of US LNG is significantly smaller than that of pipeline gas from Turkmenistan and Russia currently being used in Asia.

"Emerging nations in Asia must make decisions about what their energy systems will look like decades in advance.

"The current approvals pause has resulted in uncertainty about future availability of US LNG exports and increased the likelihood that coal use in Asia will become institutionalised in the long term.

"By resuming approvals, the US Government can signal to partners in Asia that the US intends to remain a reliable LNG supplier, enabling nations to pair gas with renewable energy as they plan for low-carbon futures."

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Thailand’s energy ministry working on new oil price structure

Thailand’s Energy Ministry is working on restructuring the country’s oil price system so that local retail prices could be set by the government without referring to global prices, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said on Sunday.

He said it would take time to change the oil price structure that has been in use for 51 years.

Pirapan, who is the leader of the government’s coalition partner United Thai Nation Party, said there now are two major issues affecting energy prices – the structural issue and a system that no one has tried to improve to benefit the people.

Pirapan said retail diesel prices are increasing because of the rising excise tax, which is decided by the Oil Fuel Fund committee, not by the Energy Ministry.

He said he is drafting a new law to change the price structural system so that the Energy Ministry or the government would be the ones to determine retail prices instead of having the prices influenced by global prices.

Currently, oil distributors set their retail prices based on Singapore’s reference prices and their costs.

“In the final step, the government will have the power to set the retail prices,” Pirapan said.

“But we have to gradually adjust the system that has been in use for 51 years without changes.

“At least I have started changing it. And this was the first time in 51 years that oil distributors must inform the National Energy Policy Committee of their costs.”

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MISC orders first ammonia dual-fuel Aframax tankers at DSIC

The charter contracts with PTLCL were signed at the same time that MISC tanker arm AET inked contracts with Dalian Shipbuilding Co Ltd (DSIC) to build the ammonia dual-fuelled Aframax tankers.

The contracts come 14 months after AET and PTLCL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“Today's signing of the Time Charter Party Contracts and the Shipbuilding Contracts is a clear testament of turning ambition into action,” said Captain Rajalingam Subramaniam, President and Group CEO of MISC.

The company did not disclose the delivery date for the ammonia dual-fuel newbuildings ordered at the yard which is part of the CSSC group.

Both the shipowner and charterer are part of Malaysian national oil and gas group Petronas.

Zahid Osman, President & CEO of AET said, “With today’s signings of the Shipbuilding Contracts with DSIC and the Time Charter Party Contracts with PTLCL for the world’s first two ammonia dual-fuel Aframaxes, we take concrete actions to deliver on our commitment as industry leaders to progress the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.”

AET has been a pioneer and in owning and operating LNG dual-fuel large tankers and is now taking on a similar role with ammonia as a marine fuel.

MISC said it would look to further collaboration with industry players for ammonia bunkering as well as Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM) and industry partners for the training of seafarers.

As developments push ahead with ammonia as a marine fuel safety remains a primary concern given the high toxicity of the fuel.

AET and ALAM inked an agreement with engine manufacturer WinGD on training for ammonia fuelled engines in June 2023. WinGD expects to deliver its first ammonia dual-fuel engines in 2025.

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Alternative Energy

IBA and HAI Join Hands to Promote Hydrogen As a Bio-based Energy Source

The Indian Biogas Association (IBA) and the Hydrogen Association of India (HAI) have forged an alliance to champion hydrogen as a bio-derived energy solution in the country's energy sector. Their collaboration aims to propel the adoption of green and blue hydrogen, prioritizing sustainable energy projects and advocating for supportive policies.

Anticipated to spur substantial market expansion, the partnership is poised to catalyze the growth of India's green hydrogen sector, projected to attain a value of $8 billion by 2030 and an impressive $340 billion by 2050. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked between IBA and HAI underscores their joint dedication to diminishing the nation's dependence on imported energy reservoirs while bolstering India's renewable energy aspirations.

Encompassing a range of initiatives including training, capacity building, and policy advocacy, this strategic partnership is aimed at fostering and enhancing bio-derived energy solutions. It represents a significant stride towards realizing sustainable development and energy self-sufficiency for India.

Within the framework of the collaboration between the Indian Biogas Association (IBA) and the Hydrogen Association of India (HAI), numerous targeted initiatives have been outlined to advocate for hydrogen as a bio-derived energy solution. These endeavors form part of a broader endeavor to reduce India's dependency on imported energy resources and bolster sustainable development and energy autonomy. Noteworthy is HAI's signing of memorandums of understanding with additional associations, such as the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, to facilitate global cooperation.

The Indian Biogas Association (IBA) is a prominent organization in India, established with the goal of promoting biogas as a sustainable and renewable energy source. One of the primary objectives of the IBA is to set up 5000 new commercial biogas plants by the end of the year 2024. The IBA aims to increase awareness of biogas, promote research and development activities in the sector, and improve the business scenario of the biogas industry by advocating for conducive policies.

At the forefront of advancing hydrogen energy in India, the Hydrogen Association of India (HAI) stands as a pivotal institution. Founded with the objective of fostering, endorsing, and nurturing the expansion of hydrogen energy and its utilization across India, HAI engages in scientific pursuits, facilitates the exchange of knowledge on hydrogen energy advancements, and offers technical counsel to both governmental and commercial entities.

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South32 Expects Restart to Gemco Wharf Operations, Export Sales in 3Q Fiscal Year 2025 — Update

By David Winning

SYDNEY--South32 said it expects it will take around a year to restart manganese ore exports from Australia following cyclone damage, unless it can find an alternative shipping option.

Operations at Gemco--Groote Eylandt Mining Company--in the Northern Territory were suspended last month after Tropical Cyclone Megan caused extensive damage to key infrastructure there, including the wharf and a haulage road bridge that connects the northern pits of the Western Leases mining area and the processing plant.

On Monday, South32 said engineering studies on the wharf and haulage road bridge have begun, which will determine how quickly they can be brought back into use and likely restoration costs.

South32 said it expects operations at the wharf and export sales to restart some time between January and March, 2025.

"Alternative shipping options are being evaluated to mitigate the impact of the wharf outage," said South32. "These options may establish partial ore export capability in advance of the wharf restoration."

South32, which withdrew guidance for its Australian manganese operation while it assessed the damage, said it is working to determine how much can be recovered under its insurance policy.

South32's manganese ore output in Australia fell by 18% to 645,000 metric tons in the three months through March compared to the previous quarter, reflecting the suspension of activity at Gemco. That brought manganese ore production in the first nine months of the current fiscal year to 2.32 million tons, down 13%.

South32 said quarterly production of all commodities other than nickel and metallurgical coal fell in the March quarter compared to the previous three months.

"With the exception of Australia Manganese, our FY 2024 production and operating unit cost guidance is unchanged, placing us in a strong position to capitalize on strengthening market conditions for many of our key commodities," said Chief Executive Graham Kerr.

South32 has been seeking to produce more of the metals it expects will be needed during the energy transition. In February, it approved the development of a $2.16 billion zinc, lead and silver mine in southern Arizona in the U.S.

Two weeks later, South32 agreed to sell its Illawarra Metallurgical Coal business in eastern Australia for up to $1.65 billion to an entity owned by Golden Energy and Resources and M Resources.

Write to David Winning at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2024 19:34 ET (23:34 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2024 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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HD Hyundai, Hyundai Dept. Store to co-work for recycling plastic waste

South Korea's HD Hyundai Oil Bank Co. and Hyundai Department Store Co. have partnered to create a closed-loop plastic film recycling system, a first for the retail industry.

The two companies announced on Sunday that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collect used plastic film packaging from Hyundai Department Stores nationwide.

The compressed plastic will be recycled in 1-ton units to HD Hyundai Oil Bank.

HD Hyundai Oil Bank aims to collect 1,000 tons of plastic waste this year and convert it into new plastic film through a pyrolysis oil process.

Using this recycled plastic, the company will produce waste collection bags for all 16 Hyundai Department Stores and eight outlets.

Hyundai Department Store will offer recycled plastic collection bags free of charge to the brands within its stores.

Through this collaboration, HD Hyundai Oil Bank will be able to secure a stable supply of raw materials for pyrolysis oil, and Hyundai Department Store can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,220 tons.

Write to Hyung-Kyu Kim at

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Tamil Nadu: Offshore wind farm project at VOC to cost Rs 450cr, to produce 500MW in phase-1

CHENNAI: With the Union Shipping Ministry planning to develop an offshore wind terminal at VOC Port in Thoothukudi, the estimated project cost has been pegged at `450 crore, according to official sources. Sources told TNIE that VOC Port is planning to build infrastructure to produce 500MW from offshore wind under the first phase.

According to the India Offshore Wind Ports Study conducted by Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy, the total cost involved in building the new terminal was initially estimated to be Rs 965 crore. This includes dredging and shore protection among other works. But VOC Port authorities said a cost analysis carried out by the port found that the cost involved is around Rs 450 crore.

A VOC port official said that the tender to develop the offshore wind farm would be floated in July or August after the elections. To a query on developing offshore wind clusters, which would generate jobs and investment, the official said that it is the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy which is working on the project.

Although the port is already working with shipping of components for on-shore wind turbines, catering to offshore wind is not a part of the current masterplan, but a top shipping ministry official said that necessary action is being taken in this regard.

According to the study conducted by the Centre of Excellence for Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy, VOC Port was found to make a very ideal location for establishment of an offshore wind terminal owing to its relatively close proximity to the Tamil Nadu offshore wind zone

“Port infrastructure plays a critical role in supporting the offshore wind industry and the Government of India should play a role so that works are completed in a timely manner. Indian Port Authorities and port operators can take a page from European ports that already have a vision and a brand as offshore wind ports,” the study said.

“Providing an opportunity for exchange of best practices, know-how and to jointly discuss opportunities and challenges that ports face would be helpful for Indian ports. For example, a twinning partnership between Indian Ports and the Port of Esbjerg could be a first step,” it added.

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Daily EV Recap: Tesla’s biggest retail shareholder votes down CEO package

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

Stories we discuss in this episode:

Tesla recalls Cybertruck due to defective accelerator, confirms about 4,000 deliveries

Tesla’s biggest retail shareholder is voting against Elon Musk’s $55 billion package

The US now has 1 DC fast charging station for every 15 gas stations

Norway just signed a contract for its first commercial offshore wind farm

Liebherr electric excavator reaches million ton milestone, scores more orders

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World Earth Day: Afforestation to organic farming, 10 ways to protect our planet

Reduce, reuse and recycle: The 3Rs play a significant role in minimizing waste and saving resources.

Conserve resources: Conserve resources like water and energy for a better future.

Less carbon emissions: Take a break from your vehicles and help to save our mother earth and choose sustainable transportation.

Afforestation: Plant trees and avoid wastage of paper. Trees absorb CO2, provide oxygen, and help combat climate change./Wiki Commons

Say no to single-use plastics: Use reusable products instead of single-use plastics to reduce plastic pollution.

Spread awareness: Stay updated about environmental issues and share them with people also to make them aware. Stay informed about environmental issues and share what you learn with others./Reuters

Support organisations: Support organisations working to protect the environment or volunteer in your local area to make communities greener./ Reuters

Organic farming: Support organic farming and opt for pesticide-free products./Reuters

Every year, World Earth Day is observed on April 22 to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote actions to protect our planet. The first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. It's a yearly celebration underlining the importance of protecting natural resources for future generations.As per the official website, “The campaign draws attention to the harmful effects of plastic in our environment — harming marine and human health, littering beaches and landscapes, clogging waste streams and landfills — and empowers people to make a difference.”According to the Earth Day 2024 website, the organisation is committed to ending plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040.For 2024, the theme is Planet vs. Plastics and urges people to be aware of the health risks of plastics.These are some simple and effective ways you can add to your daily routine to protect the Earth.

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Boss Energy produces first drum of uranium at Honeymoon project

Boss Energy (ASX: BOE) has produced the first drum of uranium at its wholly-owned Honeymoon project in South Australia.

The milestone is part of the commissioning process of the project’s re-start, which will see production ramp up to 2.45 million pounds of uranium oxide per year.

Honeymoon is already reported to be exceeding feasibility study forecasts, with uranium-rich lixiviant from the wellfields and recoveries of loaded resin in the ion-exchange column producing concentrated high-grade eluate.

Boss is now expected to accelerate plans to increase the mine’s production rate and life span.

The current mine plan utilises 36Mlb of the project’s total 71.6Mlb resource, half of which is covered by the existing mining licence.

Boss also has a valid uranium mineral export permit for 3.3Mlb a year.

Effective strategy

Managing director Duncan Craib said processing of the first drum of uranium was a major milestone.

“As well as marking the start of production and cashflow, it shows conclusively that our mining and processing strategy is highly-effective,” he said.

“This is pivotal because it paves the way for strong organic production growth by unlocking the value of our large resource and leveraging the infrastructure we have in place.”

“We have also made extensive provision in the Honeymoon plant for increased throughput.”

Shareholder returns

As well as confirming the project’s technical and operational success, Mr Craib said the project had delivered “exceptional” shareholder returns.

The company has no debt and $298 million of liquid assets in cash, equity investments and physical uranium.

This equates to almost 70% of the funds the company has raised since it acquired Honeymoon in December 2015.

Alta Mesa start-up

Boss is also preparing for start-up within the next few weeks at the Alta Mesa uranium project in South Texas.

When that project reaches steady-state operations, Boss’ share of production will be 500,000lb a year.

In February, Boss paid enCore Energy Corp around $92m to acquire a 30% interest in Alta Mesa from enCore Energy as part of plans to add international assets to Honeymoon.

Mr Craib said Alta Mesa had “significant potential” for further resource growth and expanding the drying capacity of its 1.5Mlb central processing plant.

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FFAR Grant Unites Urban Agriculture Operations To Increase Food Security

Consistent data collection and access is the first step to understanding urban agriculture systems and promoting equitable food access. The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business created Mapping Agricultural Production in NYC (M.A.P. NYC) in 2021. This interactive, crowd-sourced map catalogues food production and provides information on food distribution, technologies, labor and services across New York City. This tool was developed as part of the Invest NYC Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Initiative, a multi-year initiative to support New York City’s One NYC 2050 strategic plan based on the United Nations SDGs.

However, the tool’s utility is currently limited as there is no straightforward way to collect data to inform the platform. Marianna Koval, director of the Invest NYC SDG Initiative, is leading a team of NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business researchers, with guidance from Professor Angela Trude and managed by Anne-Laure White, to create new data collection methodologies that accurately provide data to inform M.A.P. NYC. The team aims to fill data gaps in the food system and better understand the urban agriculture sector, including land use and education. The researchers are hosting four to six workshops for stakeholders, including urban growers, gardeners, city officials and other relevant experts, to inform the prototype data mapping tool.

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Minister to meet with NZ reps on agriculture – The National

INTERNATIONAL Trade and Investment Minister Richard Maru is in New Zealand today to hold a three-day bilateral trade meeting with the New Zealand Government.

During his visit Maru will have meetings with the New Zealand Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing, Forestry, and Trade Minister Todd McClay, the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Financial Markets Authority, PNG-New Zealand Business Council, and also meet with other potential New Zealand investors.

Maru said the PNG Government had to learn from the experience of New Zealand’s capital market industry and seek their government’s support to transform the Securities Commission of PNG and the capital market industry of PNG.

“Apart from the capital market industry, I will visit New Zealand’s chicken industry and invite the New Zealand investors in this industry to come and invest in PNG because we still continue to import over K100 million worth of chicken products annually especially from New Zealand and this results in loss of jobs and revenue for our small businesses and our industry,” he said.

“We want to stop that. We also do not want to be exposed to the risk of imported chicken diseases like the Avian Influenza and others. We want to produce enough day-old chicks to supply the entire need of our nation, our farmers, and our industry so we are able to produce enough chicken locally to meet the growing demand for chicken. We also want to meet and invite some potential New Zealand investors to invest in our special economic zones,” Maru said.

He added that New Zealand was a world leader in agriculture technology and it was an important partner country that maintained strong economic growth, strength in trade exports and a close market which was of strategic importance to PNG.

Maru said PNG could learn from New Zealand to unleash the potential of its agriculture sector and New Zealand could help with more scholarships to train agricultural scientists in all aspects of agriculture including biosecurity which New Zealand was renowned for globally.

Agriculture Minister John Boito is set to visit NZ to sign a memorandum of understanding on agriculture cooperation later this year.

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Viewpoint: ‘If we follow science, organic food loses its apparent advantages’ — Harvard professor debunks organic produce myths

Organic foods, valued at over $75 billion, have long been touted as superior to conventionally grown foods, with some studies claiming they have added health properties and can ward off disease.

More than two-thirds of Americans believe these foods, which claim to be grown with fewer pesticides and often cost significantly more than regular food, are healthier.

However, Dr Robert Paalberg, professor in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University, said that evidence suggesting organic food is more nutritious is unreliable, and consuming fewer pesticides may not have an impact on health.

‘There is no reliable evidence showing that organically grown foods are more nutritious or safer to eat,’ he said.

‘If we follow science, organic food loses its apparent advantage.’

Dr Paalberg pointed to a 2012 review from Stanford University, which looked at 237 studies on organic food. The researchers found no convincing differences in nutrients or health benefits between organic and conventional foods.

The main difference was that organic foods had fewer pesticides.

Organic foods still use pesticides, but per the US Department of Agriculture, they are mostly restricted to natural sources, like copper and sulfur, whereas conventional produce can use synthetic pesticides.

However, organic farmers still have restricted access to 25 synthetic pesticides, whereas conventional farming can use more than 900.

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Precious Metals

Toubani delivers bonanza-grade gold hit at Mali project

“If successful, this will further highlight the range of optionality and potential we see at Kobada.”

Wider segments show 48m grading 2.84g/t gold from 85m including 2m at 12g/t from 89m and a deeper 3m section returning 7.38g/t from 113m. Shallower hits delivered 3m going 9.12g/t gold from just 14m including 1m at 26.1g/t from 14m.

The bonanza-grade 2m sample was assayed using the screen fire method and was contained within a wider 19m intercept going 20.6g/t gold from 69m as the company seeks to shore up a 2.4 million-ounce resource at the African operation.

Toubani Resources has returned a 2m hit grading a massive 178 grams per tonne gold from just 69m after receiving a set of impressive assays from resource definition drilling at its Kobada project in Mali.

Management kicked off its latest round of drilling back in February to test key areas of near-surface, open-pittable oxide mineralisation within or immediately adjacent to preliminary pit designs identified in a 2021 definitive feasibility study (DFS).

Toubani Resources chief executive officer Phil Russo said: “Given the headline results which we have received, we will investigate the potential to define higher-grade zones during our resource update work to complement the bulk mining approach of the broader deposit. If successful, this will further highlight the range of optionality and potential we see at Kobada over and above the optimised project we are excited to define in our upcoming DFS.”

A total of 114 holes have been completed to date covering 10,947m, with the campaign set to wrap up in just days. The resource definition program is designed to update its current 2.4 million-ounce resource estimate for the deposit that is tabled for release this quarter.

The resource estimate will then underpin a new DFS update that will build on the previous study released three years ago.

The latest results build on two broad intercepts of 27m at 1.23g/t gold and 21m at 2.97g/t which also contains an impressive 10m section grading 4.37g/t gold revealed early last week. It also included 7m at 11g/t gold from just 17m including a 1m section at a whopping 55.9g/t.

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Base Metals

Hindustan Zinc's Q4 Net Profit Falls 21% Due to Global Zinc Price Slump

Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), a Vedanta group firm, witnessed a 21% year-on-year decline in its fourth-quarter net profit, amounting to ₹2,038 Crore, primarily due to depressed zinc prices globally amidst slower demand growth compared to supply.

The company's consolidated net profit in the same quarter of the previous year was ₹2,583 Crore. However, on a sequential basis, the net profit increased marginally by 0.5% from ₹2,028 Crore in the third quarter.

HZL's revenue from operations in the reporting quarter stood at ₹7,285 Crore, reflecting a 12% decrease from ₹8,281 Crore recorded a year ago. Nevertheless, on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the revenue increased by 3%.

The consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the quarter under review amounted to ₹3,637 Crore, marking a 14% decline from ₹4,208 Crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

The decline in revenue can be attributed to significantly lower zinc and lead prices, along with reduced lead volume, partially offset by increased zinc and silver volumes, silver prices, and favorable exchange rates, as stated by the company.

Despite plummeting metal prices, HZL maintained a steady margin of 47% through continuous cost reduction, achieving its lowest cost in the last three years, according to the company's Chief Financial Officer Sandeep Modi.

For FY24, HZL reported record mined metal production of 1,079 kilotonne (KT), marking a 2% increase from the previous year, driven by improved mined metal grades.

Mined metal production in the March quarter reached 299 KT, up by 11% from the previous quarter, attributed to a combination of improved mined metal grades and higher ore production across mines.

Additionally, HZL achieved its highest silver volume in FY24 at 24.0 million ounces (moz), reflecting a 5% year-on-year increase. Refined lead production stood at 216 KT, up by 3% year-on-year, according to the company's statement.

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