Cleanaway releases FY19 half-year results

Cleanaway has announced its financial results for the six months ending 31 December, reporting the integration of Toxfree is on track and all operating segments increased revenue and earnings.

An ASX statement shows gross revenue increased by 46.4 per cent to just over $1.7 million, with net revenue increasing by 47.4 per cent to just over $1.6 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 43 per cent to $221 million.

The company’s solid waste services reported net revenue increases by 30 per cent to $682 million, with EBITDA growing by 26 per cent to $176 million. Growth was reportedly enhanced by the ramp up of major contract wins such as the NSW Central Coast, Coles, NSW Container Deposit Scheme and commencement of a Brisbane City Council resource recovery contract.

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Cleanaway’s industrial and waste services reported increased net revenue, earnings and margins, with net revenue increasing by 129 per cent to $177 million. EBITDA increased 194 per cent to $23.2 million. The company said modest organic growth occurred taking into account the completion of the Toxfree Wheatstone project.

The acquisition of Toxfree has increased scale in this segment, allowing for segementation and management across two strategic business: resources and infrastructure.

The statement said that the pipeline of work across both infrastructure and resources markets is encouraging, although at this stage it is too early to be confident on the timing of project commencements.

The liquid and health services segment saw net revenue increase by 77 per cent to $251 million and EBITDA by 93.2 per cent to $42.7 million.

“Hydrocarbons had a good first half and remains on track for further growth with increased production efficiencies and improved oil price movement,” the ASX statement read.

“Hazardous and non-hazardous liquids performance was disappointing. We are working to improve its performance and remain confident that this will be achieved.”

An interim dividend of 1.65 cents per cent has been declared representing an increase of 50 per cent over the corresponding period.

Positive earnings momentum is expected for the remainder of the year via organic growth and full realisation of synergies.

Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer Vik Bansal said he was pleased to present results that deliver on the company’s promise and commitments.

“The safety of everyone at Cleanaway has and always will be our number one priority. The alignment of culture and behaviours needed to ensure our target of Goal Zero remains a priority as we continue the integration of Toxfree,” he said.

“We are pleased with the Toxfree integration process and remain confident of delivering the $35 million of synergies from the acquisition.”

Mr Bansal said that while margins have improved compared to the second half of FY18, the company believes that further improvements can be achieved as it continues to implement synergies and operational improvements across all segments and businesses.

“Development of our prized infrastructure as part of Footptint 2025 continued at pace. During the half we completed construction of post collection facilities in Sydney and Perth, an organics facility in Melbourne and upgraded our soil treatment facility in Sydney,” he said.

“The acquisition of Toxfree and the numerous strategic initiatives which we continue to implement across the company have further strengthened our position as the leading waste management company in Australia.”

QLD Draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy

The Queensland Government has released a draft waste management strategy for consultation, setting targets for 2050 and action points for stakeholders.

Targets for 2050 include having a rate of recycling of 75 per cent for all waste types, with only 10 per cent of waste going to landfill, and a 25 per cent reduction in household waste.

Queensland reported 10.9 million tonnes of waste in 2017-18, with 45 per cent of this recycled.

The Queensland Government plans to invest $100 million over the next three years for new and expanded waste management facilities.

In the report, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said this will be complemented by a suite of education and support programs. The government also has a commitment to devote more than 70 per cent of levy proceeds to resource recovery and other programs that reduce the impact of waste.

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Other measures already adopted include a $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program and $5 million Waste to Bioenergy Fund.

Five strategic priorities are outlined including reducing waste, transitioning to a circular economy and building economic opportunities.

In building economic opportunities, the government has listed action points to develop the Advance Queensland Waste and Resource Recovery Industries Roadmap. Further to this, developing  proposals for landfill disposal bans and creating market development plans for key waste types and waste sectors.

Ms Enoch said the draft strategy presented a fundamental shift in the way waste is managed in Queensland.

“The latest figures show we are generating more waste than we are growing in population, and Queensland is still one of the worst performers in Australia when it comes to recycling,” Ms Enoch said.

“This comprehensive draft strategy supports the Palaszczuk Government’s long-term vision of becoming a zero-waste society, where waste is avoided and the waste we do produce is reused and recycled.”

She said these targets would also directly contribute to the Queensland Government’s targets of zero net emissions by 2050.

“The end goals from this strategy are simple. We need to reduce the amount of waste we create, cut greenhouse gas emissions and leave our environment in a better condition for our future generations,” she said.

“At the moment, the approach to waste is ‘take-make-use-dispose’, but this needs to change to a more circular model, where materials keep circulating within the economy at their highest value.”

Australian Council of Recycling CEO Pete Shmigel said that by moving towards a circular economy and creating market demand for recycled products, the waste industry can lead the next resources boom for Queensland, creating vital jobs and investment opportunities.

“The Queensland Government’s waste strategy is a great new bunch of carrots for better and more resource recovery,” Mr Shmigel said.

“Our industry welcomes the incentives for greater investment, and the emphasis on recycling’s economic and jobs benefits.

“We look forward to the strategy’s ‘doing’ including the right organisational structures and stakeholder partnerships.

“We’re not really recycling until we’re making and buying products from recyclate and that’s where we all need to go next.”

To view the strategy, click here.

Public consultation closes on April 5.

Gladstone biorefinery pilot plant gets the go-ahead

A Gladstone pilot biorefinery that will be the trial site for jet fuel and diesel production from agricultural and forestry waste is set to go ahead.

US company Mercurius has commenced detailed design of the pilot biorefinery and will begin construction in months.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state government had been at the forefront of developing a bio-industry in Queensland.

“I met with Mercurius during a trade mission to the US in 2017 and they made it clear they recognised Queensland was committed to developing a biofuels industry,” she said.

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Mercurius has developed cutting-edge, patented biotechnology to produce cost-effective drop-in biofuels and bio-chemicals from non-food feedstocks like sugarcane waste – all without directly producing a CO2 by-product. The Mercurius pilot biorefinery will be co-located on the Northern Oil Refinery at Yarwun, with construction scheduled to conclude in late 2019.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Mercurius’ world-leading biotechnology will bring Queensland a step closer to achieving a $1 billion biofutures industry by 2026.

“The planned biorefinery pilot represents a huge vote of confidence in the biofutures credentials of Queensland, particularly in the Gladstone region,” Mr Dick said.

“During its three-month operational period, the pilot biorefinery will provide work for around 30 people.

“Once the pilot is successfully delivered, Mercurius then plans to build a larger demonstration plant, which would scale up production of biofuels and bio-chemicals.

“The demonstration biorefinery would target production of four tonnes of renewable diesel and jet fuel daily and could attract a combined investment value of $11 million and create an estimated 50 jobs.”

“As stated in the KPMG bioenergy state of the nation assessment, commissioned by Bioenergy Australia, Queensland in leading the nation when it comes to the development of the bioenergy industry,” he said.

“We’re strongly placed to capitalise on our existing agricultural and manufacturing base and supporting infrastructure, and this is allowing us to take a lead role in the production of renewable fuels.”

The pilot is supported through the Palaszczuk Government’s $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, which helps to facilitate private sector projects that create regional employment and economic growth opportunities.

Through the state’s Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program, QUT also secured $300,000 over three years to fund research on Mercurius’ biotechnology at the pilot plant.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Mercurius chose Queensland to develop and commercialise its technology due to the state’s willingness to support innovative projects.

“Over the longer term, based on the performance of the pilot and demonstration plants, the company plans to establish up to five commercial scale biorefineries across regional Queensland,” Mr Butcher said.

Mercurius Managing Director Michael Vevera said the company continues to see the strong potential of regional Queensland as a leading global biorefinery location.

“Queensland is an ideal destination to further develop our patented REACH biotechnology,” Mr Vevera said.

“This is due to the abundance of feedstocks, coupled with the Queensland Government’s continued commitment to build a strong biofutures industry.”

Mercurius President and CEO Karl Seck said the company was attracted to Queensland by the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program in 2017.

You can read more about innovation and bioenergy in Queensland by clicking here.

 

New EPA roll stability initiative applies to all DG tankers

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has announced a key heavy vehicle road safety initiative will be extended to all dangerous goods tankers.

Under the change, the EPA now requires all DG tankers to be fitted with a roll stability system.

Previously it was only compulsory in new tank trailers.

The requirement has been in effect since 1 January 2019.

Steve Beaman from the EPA said the requirement is the completion of a five-year implementation period for existing vehicles, while pertaining to new vehicles since 2014.

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“This critical initiative will assist in making NSW roads safer, protect the environment from hazardous material spills and potentially save lives,” Mr Beaman said.

Roll-over control automatically reduces vehicle speed when sensors detect wheel speed is producing a high risk of a vehicle rolling over.

The safety initiative follows recommendations by the NSW Coroner after a fatal tanker accident in 2009 at East Lynne on the south coast and another serious accident in 2013 at Mona Vale on Sydney’s northern beaches.

“The safe transportation of dangerous goods is a very serious matter and the reforms were introduced as a consequence of fatalities involving heavy vehicles,” Mr Beaman said.

National Bulk Tanker Association Executive Director Rob Perkins welcomed the extension to all vehicles.

“New South Wales has shown real leadership in ensuring this very important safety measure protects vehicles from roll-over,” said Mr Perkins. “This undoubtedly contributes to improved safety for all road users in NSW.”

Compliance checks will be carried out to ensure tank trailers carrying dangerous goods using NSW roads have fitted the roll-over control system.

On-the-spot fines of up to $4,000 may apply for non-compliance.

Neometals makes start at battery recycling plant

Perth-based developer of industrial minerals projects Neometals has commissioned the first stage of its lithium-ion battery recycling pilot project with SGS in Canada.

The company plans to shred the disused batteries — which still have some charge left — to remove the plastic and steel casings, while upgrading the lithium, cobalt, nickel powders (and shredded copper and aluminium foil) into a black powder for use as feed material for stage two hydrometallurgical processing.

The Canadian branch of Swiss technical services firm SGS will build and operate the pilot at a special facility in Lakefield, Ontario, where it will commence front-end feed works for battery shredding and dismantlement.

SGS will then proceed to stage two operations involving hydrometallurgical processing and refining of battery materials.

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The company will create powder from two tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries for the pilot. This feed will then be leached and recovered and the water recycled before finally moving on to construction of the recovery and refining stage.

Once the pilot is complete, a front-end engineering and design study and feasibility study are planned to test the system’s commercial viability.

“The commissioning of the pilot represents a significant milestone and marks the culmination of extensive research and development into a flowsheet to process multiple battery chemistries, from consumer electronics to electric vehicle applications,” said Neometals managing director Chris Reed.

“With ever increasing volumes of commercial [lithium-ion batteries] reaching their end of life, we are focussed on proving at scale, then qualifying our scaleable and modular recycling solution with industry as soon as possible.”

Nestlé co-launches Future Food Initiative research program

Nestlé has announced the launch of the Future Food Initiative, a joint research program to support the company in developing sustainable food and beverage products.

The Future Food Initiative brings together Swiss academic and industrial partners leading in nutritional science and food technology, including ETH Zurich, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), as well as Swiss companies Nestlé, Bühler and Givaudan.

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The initiative encourages food and nutrition research in areas relevant to consumer trends and sustainability, and it includes a postdoctoral fellowship program to promote young scientists. The first research projects will focus on plant-based nutrition and ancient plant varieties.

“We accelerate innovation in collaboration with a variety of external partners, including world-class academia, globally leading suppliers and creative start-ups across the world,” Stefan Palzer, CTO of Nestlé S.A. said.

“To address open scientific questions and challenges related to food trends and sustainable nutrition is key for us as we create tasty and nutritious food for all age groups. As one of the initiators of this important Swiss research initiative, we reaffirm our commitment to further strengthen the unique Swiss research ecosystem for food and nutrition research.”

A significant part of Nestlé’s global research and development organisation is located in Switzerland, including Nestlé Research.

Tellus Holdings award $50M contract for Sandy Ridge project

Infrastructure development company Tellus Holdings has awarded a $50 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its Sandy Ridge Project in WA, which includes a hazardous waste storage facility.

GR Engineering services has been selected for the contract, which will commence in two stages to align with regulatory approvals.

The project is a kaolin mining operation which will include a waste facility for the permanent storage of hazardous waste. It will require the commissioning of the waste cell infrastructure, access roads, raw water supply and other key infrastructure for the waste facility.

Stage one construction works will include engineering, design and long lead procurement activities, including the manufacturing of the cell air dome and foundation blocks.

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Stage two construction works will include the engineering, procurement, construction commission and testing of the site infrastructure. This includes mining the first open cut kaolin pit, container yards, site warehouses and offices, roads, a 71-room accommodation village and associated utilities.

Additionally, Tellus has also awarded program management company Turner & Townsend for its $2 million project management consultant (PMC) contract. Turner & Townsend will support Tellus in managing the development phase contracts, ancillary construction, equipment supply contracts and key operational contracts. Tellus plans to announce several of these contracts in the coming weeks.

Tellus GM Project Development Stephen Hosking said the signing of these two contracts will give Tellus stakeholders confidence that Australia’s first commercial dual open-cut kaolin mine and arid near surface geological waste repository will be built on time to the highest standards.

“These signed contracts meet key conditions precedent for the $102 million senior secured loan note subscription facility that was signed on the 21st December 2018. Tellus expects to announce additional detail on the final satisfaction of the conditions precedent and drawdown of the Debt Facility in the coming weeks,” he said.

Up to 100 jobs are expected to be generated by the construction phase of the project, with 80 jobs at peak operational manning supported by the accommodation camp.

Stage one enabling works will commence this month, followed by stage two construction expected to begin in early June 2019 and be fully operational by 2020.

iQ Renew merges with Stop Waste for chemical recycling

Licella Holdings (Licella), pioneers in chemical recycling, has completed the merger of its subsidiary iQ Renew Pty Ltd (iQR) with Stop Waste, owner and operator of recycling facilities in Australia.

iQR will be one of the first companies globally to combine physical and chemical recycling, at a time when the world is searching for new recycling pathways following China’s effective ban on imported foreign waste.

In CY2018, Stop Waste made earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation of approximately $9 million and totals 60 people (employees and contractors). Through the merger, Licella have a pathway to earn up to 32 per cent of the iQR business. As part of the overall transaction share swap, Stop Waste Holdings, owners of Stop Waste, have also made an investment into Licella.

iQR now owns and operates the portfolio of Material Recovery Facilities and secondary processing facilities on the NSW Central Coast, an hour north of Sydney, Australia. These facilities include two for primary recycling (sorting), and two for secondary recycling (processing single streams for re-manufacture).

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Combined, iQR’s facilities process over 100,000 tonnes per annum of recovered resources, collected kerbside by councils.

iQR plan to fund and build a commercial scale Cat-HTR plant in the next 18 months, which will process end-of-life plastics and tyres in Australia and New Zealand.

Licella and iQR’s new global joint venture, iQ Renew Wood Recycling, also offers an opportunity to extract value from construction and demolition (C&D) wood waste.

As part of the partnership, Danial Gallagher, founder of Stop Waste, has been appointed CEO of iQR, and will also join the Licella board as a non-executive director.

“I am an absolute believer in the Cat-HTR technology and this was a key driver in the decision to merge Stop Waste with iQ Renew,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We continue to expand our recycling business into exciting new areas, including construction and demolition wood waste, driving innovation, maximising value and minimising waste in resource recovery.”

Licella CEO Dr Len Humphreys said he was pleased to have completed such a significant transaction.

Australian Paper and SUEZ partner on WtE project

Australian Paper has partnered with SUEZ to develop the $600 million Maryvale Mill waste to energy (WtE) project following the successful completion of its feasibility study.

The $7.5 million study was co-funded with the Federal and Victorian Governments.

Australian Paper will now partner with SUEZ  to secure the long-term access to waste required to power the facility.

Australian Paper’s study examined the technical, social, environmental, and commercial feasibility of establishing an WtE facility at Maryvale.

The 18 month study found the facility would operate at a high efficiency of 58 per cent due to the mill’s need for baseload steam and electricity all year round. It would also divert approximately 650,000 tonnes of residual waste from Melbourne and Gippsland landfill, saving 543,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum. The new facility would allow the return of up to four Petajoules of natural gas per annum and 30 megawatt-hour per hour of electricity to Victoria’s retail energy market.

Australian Paper Chief Operating Officer Peter Williams said the company is committed to its mission of sustainable growth for the next generation.

“As the largest industrial user of natural gas in Victoria and a significant energy consumer, we must develop alternative baseload energy sources to maintain our future competitiveness,” Mr Williams said.

“Creating energy from waste is a perfect fit with our operations, because in addition to electricity we require significant quantities of thermal energy to generate steam. A WtE facility at Maryvale would secure ongoing investment at the site, support employment growth in the Latrobe Valley and also provide the missing link in Victoria’s waste management infrastructure,” Mr Williams said.

A recent economic impact study from Western Research Institute has confirmed that the WtE facility would support an average of 1046 Victorian jobs per annum during the three year construction period and more than 900 when operational.

Australian Paper and SUEZ will seek to finalise waste supply arrangements for the project by 2020. Construction of the WtE facility is planned to begin soon after with completion expected in 2024.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria granted Australian Paper a works approval to develop a large-scale, WtE facility in Victoria at the end of 2018. The facility is proposed to be co-located within the boundaries of the Australian Paper site in Maryvale, Latrobe Valley and process residual municipal solid waste, and industrial and commercial waste.

Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 released

The WA Government has released its Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 to guide the state in becoming a sustainable, low-waste circular economy.

The strategy is supported by an action plan that includes a commitment to use more than 25,000 tonnes of recycled construction and demolition waste as road base under the Roads to Reuse program. It also includes a strategic review of WA’s waste and recycling infrastructure by 2020 to guide future development.

Historically, Western Australia has generated the highest volume of waste per capita in the nation, and has had among the lowest rates of waste recovery.

A cornerstone of the waste strategy is a new target that will ensure all Perth and Peel households will have a third kerbside bin for Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) by 2025.

Under the three-bin FOGO system, food scraps and garden organics are separated from other waste categories and reused to create high-quality compost.

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The government in a statement said implementing this system will ensure Western Australia can meet the targets set out in the waste strategy, the amount of waste going to landfill is reduced and more household waste is recovered, reused and recycled.

The WA Government will work with local governments to adopt the three-bin FOGO system and ensure it is rolled out successfully.

The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council trialled the FOGO system across 7000 households in 2017. The trial received strong support from locals, and the City of Melville plans to roll it out permanently in June.

The state government will work with regional councils to address their own unique waste challenges.

The ambitious targets outlined in the strategy – a 20 per cent reduction in waste generation per capita and a 75 per cent rate of material recovery by 2030 – will build on the momentum achieved by the introduction of the WA Government’s container deposit scheme in early 2020 and the ban on lightweight plastic bags.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the state government will work collaboratively with local governments and the community to achieve these ambitious targets.