July 2020

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Rodds Bay Solar Farm secures UK investment

The promise of more than 300 new construction jobs in the Gladstone region took a significant step forward this week when UK investment group United Green committed to a major investment in the $350 million Rodds Bay Solar Farm.

The promise of more than 300 new construction jobs in the Gladstone region took a significant step forward this week when UK investment group United Green committed to a major investment in the $350 million Rodds Bay Solar Farm.

United Green has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake from the current project owner, Renew Estate.

Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said the solar farm, 50km south of Gladstone, would be one of Australia’s largest renewables projects.

‘The equity investment from United Green is a vote of confidence in Queensland’s renewables sector and Queensland’s economic recovery,’ the Premier said.

‘While there are still some steps for this project to follow, this major investment will mean hundreds of new jobs in the Gladstone region when the project is due to start later this year.’

Rodds Bay will be United Green’s first entry into the Australian energy market, adding to an impressive portfolio of utility-scale wind and solar developments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

United Green Chief Investment Officer Tim Mole welcomed the move.

‘We are delighted to be announcing our first project in Australia, in such a dynamic part of Central Queensland,’ he said.

‘The strength of support for this project from the Queensland Government, the local community, local businesses and other stakeholders gives us great confidence in taking this project forward to construction and marks Renew Estate as one of Australia’s leading renewable energy developers.

‘We look forward to engaging with local businesses over coming months.’

Renew Estate Director Vincent Dwyer said the Rodds Bay project was a commitment to a sustainable future for the Gladstone region.

‘We are passionate about the potential for Central Queensland as a renewable energy hub supporting heavy industry, and are committed to supporting an energy transition there in partnership with the community,’ he said.

‘We are delighted to have secured such a capable and experienced partner in United Green, with a shared vision for Queensland as a renewable energy powerhouse.

‘Rodds Bay will not only create direct employment through jobs on site but will create major opportunities for suppliers across a range of areas.’

Mr Dwyer welcomed the support provided by TIQ in securing United Green’s involvement.

‘We worked closely with Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) to secure the investment, and we are very grateful to TIQ for their introductions and support,’ he said.

‘We’re also continuing to work closely with them to connect into local supply chains as part of delivering jobs and regional economic development.’

Rodds Bay Solar Farm is the latest project for Renew Estate, which is a joint venture between Australian companies Energy Estate and Beast Solutions and global solar operator WIRSOL Energy (the Australian arm of Germany’s WIRCON Group, which also owns the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Clermont solar farms in Queensland).

Rodds Bay secured its notice to proceed earlier this year, and early works on the project are due to commence in coming months. Renew Estate will continue to be a shareholder.

Renewables are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, and Queensland’s renewables projects have attracted significant international investment, including the recently announced MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct near Warwick.

The Queensland Government has committed to a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

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Indonesia-Australia agreement comes into force

With the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) now in force as of 5 July, Queensland exporters are being urged to look for new opportunities in the rapidly expanding Indonesian market.

With the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) now in force as of 5 July, Queensland exporters are being urged to look for new opportunities in the rapidly expanding Indonesian market.

The IA-CEPA is a free trade agreement designed to foster further economic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia and to expand and diversify bilateral economic partnerships.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Indonesia Ben Giles said the new agreement should be a prompt for all Queensland exporters to turn their gaze to a massive but often neglected overseas market close to home.

‘Indonesia is one of Queensland’s nearest neighbours, with Jakarta only around 7 hours flying time from Brisbane and just a few hours’ time difference from Queensland,’ he said.

‘Indonesia is also home to around 267 million people – that’s more than 10 times Australia’s population – and a rapidly expanding middle class that is actively seeking unique, quality products and services.

‘Indonesia has always had extraordinary potential for Queensland exporters, but that will be even greater now that IA-CEPA has come into force and many Australian goods can enter the country either duty-free or under improved preferential arrangements.

‘While COVID-19 is obviously posing challenges here right now – as it is around the world – I do believe Indonesia should be on Queensland exporters’ list of markets to explore once normal trade can resume.’

Mr Giles said he expected the most noticeable trade benefits of IA-CEPA to be in agriculture, but encouraged Queensland exporters in all sectors to research Indonesian opportunities and to seek support from TIQ’s Jakarta-based team.

‘Historically, Queensland agricultural producers have been big exporters of live cattle, beef and a range of horticulture products to Indonesia,’ he said.

‘Under IA-CEPA, their Indonesian importers and partners will benefit from reduced tariffs and/or increased quotas.

‘The new agreement will also provide greater certainty for services suppliers such as education and healthcare providers who may wish to set up a presence in Indonesia with a local partner.

‘I’d encourage exporters to really commit to exploring the Indonesian market properly, and to take advantage of the insights and support that TIQ’s Queensland and Jakarta advisers can provide.’

Queensland exported $1.3 billion worth of goods to Indonesia in the 12 months to May 2020, making Indonesia Queensland’s tenth-largest export market in that period. Most exports were in the resources (including coal and minerals) and food sectors.

Queensland exports account for about one-fifth of Australia’s total goods exports to Indonesia, including about one-third of Australia’s beef exports to the Indonesian market.

TIQ relocated and expanded its Jakarta office in 2018, supported by funding committed under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you’d like advice on exporting into Indonesia, or other overseas markets, contact TIQ today.

Please note: Australia’s arrangements with Indonesia under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) remain unchanged. While IA-CEPA builds on outcomes in AANZFTA, the 2 agreements will co-exist and businesses will be able to continue to use AANZFTA.

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Vaxxas signs deals with global partners

Needle-free vaccines for the world are a step closer after Queensland biotech startup Vaxxas secured 2 major partnerships with international companies.

Needle-free vaccines for the world are a step closer after Queensland biotech start-up Vaxxas secured 2 major partnerships with international companies.

Vaxxas, a UniQuest spin-out company, will work with Merck and Harro Höfliger to commercialise its HD-MAP technology, which delivers vaccines via a nanopatch covered in thousands of tiny micro-projections.

The Queensland-developed technology has the potential to revolutionise global delivery of vaccines and help combat future pandemics.

Vaxxas Chief Development and Operations Officer Dr Angus Forster said the multimillion-dollar partnership with global pharmaceutical company Merck would support Vaxxas to progress its technology through late-stage clinical trials.

‘Working with Merck means verification of our technology and brings their development expertise and capacity into the project,’ Dr Forster said.

‘The next step for us is into late-stage clinical trials to demonstrate the technology’s benefits and safety on a larger scale.’

The partnership will see Vaxxas receive $18 million from Merck in a combination of equity funding and option fees and be eligible to receive future option, development, and commercial milestone payments.

Vaxxas has also signed an agreement with specialist pharmaceutical automation company Harro Höfliger to develop a manufacturing line able to produce tens of millions of units per week.

Dr Forster said the Harro Höfliger deal would help scale up Vaxxas’ production processes to commercial levels.

‘The additional investment is fantastic as we now need to identify, design and build a new facility to manufacture the nanopatch and the applicator device.

‘If we can set up a manufacturing base in Australia, hopefully in Brisbane, we can supply those components to our partners around the world and ensure manufacturing jobs stay here.’

Unlike typical liquid-based vaccines, the nanopatch allows vaccines to be coated on as a dry powder that does not require refrigeration.

This means the nanopatches can be used safely in remote areas where reliable refrigerated supply chains are not available.

Dr Forster said the ease of use also meant people who aren’t medical professionals could potentially administer vaccines themselves during future pandemics.

‘These vaccine patches could be sent out via the post service with instructions to allow people to vaccinate themselves and their families at home safely.

‘That would mean there’s less need for large groups of people to come to together and that would also let frontline medical staff focus on helping those who require emergency care.’

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said Vaxxas partnering with 2 major international players to commercialise its technology was a massive boost for Queensland’s biotech industry.

‘Vaxxas’ deals with major international partners show that it’s possible to have a biomanufacturing industry based on high-tech innovation in Queensland that’s competitive,’ Dr Moss said.

‘The ability for our biotech players to partner with global pharmaceutical companies and organisations like WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a huge validation of the Queensland industry’s global presence.’

Dr Forster said the new deals and upcoming projects meant that Vaxxas would be looking at hiring more than 40 new staff in the next 12–18 months, a doubling of current staff numbers.

TIQ has worked with both Vaxxas and UniQuest for many years, with the companies joining the Queensland Government’s annual delegations to the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotech event.

The biotech and biomedicine sector is identified as an emerging export strength in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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International student on Queensland’s COVID-19 frontline

A former international student’s battle with childhood respiratory illness has propelled him to the frontline of Queensland’s COVID-19 health response.

A former international student’s battle with childhood respiratory illness has propelled him to the frontline of Queensland’s COVID-19 health response.

Griffith University Master of Nursing graduate Suharto ‘Jao’ Jundam has been working at Redcliffe Hospital managing patients in the Medical Assessment Ward, including those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.

Mr Jundam said he developed a first-hand appreciation of nursing at a young age after spending time in hospital because of his asthma.

‘[Nursing] is a vocation – you choose to serve people no matter who they are, what their circumstances are, or what they’re in need of,’ Mr Jundam said.

‘I’d always been pulled to nursing, but having had a challenging condition myself, acute care became a real passion for me.’

The 25-year-old Filipino graduate was among a wave of former and current international students who stepped up to help the hospital and aged care system across Australia cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government temporarily waived the students’ 40 hour per fortnight work to ensure they were able to provide support when needed.

Prior his current appointment at Redcliffe Hospital, Mr Jundam spent time as an agency nurse at the Prince Charles, Mater and Princess Alexandria hospitals.

He said being part of the multi-disciplinary team at Redcliffe Hospital was rewarding.

‘There’s much more to the role than the health component – supporting the mental welfare of patients has been very important during COVID-19,’ Mr Jundam said.

‘When people are presenting, they can be experiencing a lot of anxiety, especially when they’re waiting for test results.

‘It’s important that we, as nurses, are there for the patient during that time.’

Study Queensland has introduced a range of support initiatives as part of the Queensland International Student Crisis Assistance Package to help international students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hong Kong visits Queensland – virtually

Potential business migrants in Hong Kong enjoyed a video, webinar, online booth and interactive chat promoting the benefits of a move to Queensland when TIQ participated in a cutting-edge virtual exhibition recently.

Potential business migrants in Hong Kong enjoyed a video, webinar, online booth and interactive chat promoting the benefits of a move to Queensland when TIQ participated in a cutting-edge virtual exhibition recently.

Organised by migration agent Ascent Step, the virtual exhibition was the first of its kind for Hong Kong, attracting plenty of interest from potential migrants plus attention from local media.

Attendees entered through a virtual exhibit hall, where they could watch a #Brisbaneby2025 video, then moved on to a virtual booth featuring a TIQ video and fact sheets with visa information.

The exhibit hall also featured live and pre-recorded webinars, and 2 chat rooms where attendees could ask questions in a group or request a personal video meeting with a representative.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Hong Kong Julia Herries said the exhibition aimed to give potential migrants a virtual experience with all the features of a face-to-face encounter while respecting COVID-19 health guidelines.

‘Congratulations to Ascent Step for creating such a great platform to communicate with potential business migrants on what Queensland can offer them in terms of lifestyle and business opportunities,’ she said.

‘I was very pleased to participate as a keynote webinar speaker along with my Brisbane-based colleagues Marney Richardson and Cynthia Chen from Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ).

‘We had more than 80 participants attend the webinar and I’m optimistic we’ll see genuine migration enquiries from good candidates as a result.’

Participants in the TIQ webinar were invited through 3 main local groups – the Federation of Australian Alumni Associations, Hong Kong Electronic Industries’ Association and manufacturing group Hong Kong Apparel Society Limited.

Attendees at the exhibition also heard from a range of organisations about what is required to move to or invest in Queensland, with tax and business information presented by firms such as Hong Kong accounting consultancy Fan, Chan & Co, Brisbane accountants Pilot Partners, and Brisbane migration agent Australia Asia Migration Consultants.

Local media also thought the exhibition was noteworthy, with Ascent Step exhibition organisers Jeff Chan and Jack So interviewed by Hong Kong finance television channel TVB.

Business visa applications from Hong Kong residents interested in moving to Queensland increased threefold in the 2019–20 financial year, a trend that is predicted to continue in the coming 12 months. The main business visa of interest is the Business Investor Stream (subclass 188) visa, which requires applicants to invest $1.5 million in Queensland Treasury Corporation bonds over 4 years.

The exhibition was held on 10 June and featured life-like theatre simulations as well as a range of other state-of-the-art virtual interfaces.

More information about business migration to Queensland is available on the BSMQ website.

Attracting investment to Queensland is one of the goals of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

June 2020

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HTL lends helping hand in Wide Bay Burnett

A resources company investing in Wide Bay’s burgeoning minerals sector has lent a helping hand in the fight against COVID-19 by donating more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to the local community.

A resources company investing in Wide Bay’s burgeoning minerals sector has lent a helping hand in the battle against COVID-19 by donating more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to the local community.

Australian company High Titanium Resources and Technology Limited (HTL) has been approved to develop the Wateranga deposit about 80km south-west of Bundaberg.

Already looking to its role as a local corporate citizen, HTL responded to the COVID-19 crisis by sourcing 1,080 bottles of hand sanitiser and donating them to Mundubbera-based North Burnett Community Services last month.

The agency then distributed the sanitiser to local shops and to citrus exporters and others in need across 6 towns in the North Burnett region.

HTL Chairman David Li said the company was very pleased to contribute to the local community during a challenging time.

‘HTL is committed to a long-term role in the Wide Bay region,’ he said.

‘We believe very strongly in the concept of contributing to the community, whether that’s through growing the local economy or lending a helping hand in other ways.

‘We saw a practical way we could help to fight the pandemic, and we were very pleased to work with government authorities and community organisations to get the sanitiser out to groups that could really use it.’

Principal Trade and Investment Officer Brett Tucker from TIQ Wide Bay–Burnett said the TIQ team and colleague Richard Crook from the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation (DSDTI) had worked together to help ensure the sanitiser went where it would have most impact.

‘HTL, the community sector, TIQ and DSDTI all played their part to take a practical step for community benefit,’ he said.

‘I firmly believe this is an important part of our work as Queensland Government representatives in a regional community – helping to build bridges and develop long-term relationships.’

Mr Tucker said simple actions like these could have big benefits.

‘Much of the sanitiser has gone to small businesses and to local citrus farms that employ hundreds of pickers during the harvest,’ he said.

‘Helping them keep their workforce safe has major spinoff benefits in terms of the local community’s health.

‘Central Burnett citrus farms are large export clients and employers for Queensland, so we are pleased to see every support to those that are on the frontline managing COVID-19 risks.’

TIQ has been working with HTL to help attract international investment partners to its Wateranga project. The Wateranga deposit contains ilmenite, feldspar, apatite, muscovite, phlogopite, zircon, corundum and scandium. Potential uses for such minerals are in pigments, specialty metals and fertilisers.

HTL is also a member of the Wide Bay Burnett Resources Group – a body established to help coordinate and foster mining projects across the region.

Mineral resources are identified as one of Queensland’s major export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Construction starts on Toowoomba export hub

Earthworks are underway for the new Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, destined to become an export hub for Toowoomba and the surrounding region.

Earthworks are underway for the new Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, destined to become an export hub for Toowoomba and the surrounding region.

Wagner Corporation is constructing the 3,500sqm centre, with up to $10 million in funding support from the Queensland Government.

The Toowoomba RTDC is one of 2 new multimillion-dollar export hubs for Queensland announced by the state government in October 2019, with the other hub to be constructed at Cairns Airport.

The Toowoomba hub will comprise state-of-the-art cold and freezer rooms and temperature-controlled and ambient large transit areas.

The new facility will be used to export premium goods including beef, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, pork and packaged nuts.

Minister for State Development Kate Jones said the hub would generate millions of dollars worth of business for local primary producers and exporters in the region as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘This will give our world-leading primary producers and exporters an edge, allowing them to return to international marketplaces that are keen to get as much of Queensland’s high-quality products as they can,’ Ms Jones said.

Principal Trade and Investment Officer for TIQ Ipswich Julie Mark said the facility was a vote of confidence for regional Queensland’s export capabilities.

‘Since exports commenced in 2016, Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport has demonstrated its ability to provide efficient freight services with quick turnarounds for exporters,’ Ms Mark said.

‘Flights like the new weekly Singapore Airlines freight service mean Queensland produce can be growing in a field one day and landing into a foreign market in as little as 24 hours.

‘The RTDC will enable Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport to expand its export capacity even further and TIQ looks forward to helping South East Queensland exporters access those new export opportunities.’

The RTDC is scheduled to be built within 10 months, subject to necessary approvals.

The two locations for the new centres were selected after a competitive process that saw communities across Queensland making business cases for why their region should be chosen.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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QSAP international student panel to share COVID insights

Study Queensland (SQ) has inducted the 2020 Queensland Student Advisory Panel (QSAP) to help inform the international education industry’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study Queensland (SQ) has inducted the 2020 Queensland Student Advisory Panel (QSAP) to help inform the international education industry’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourteen students from eleven countries will represent the almost 100,000 international students enrolled across Queensland’s education and training sector.

The panel will advise SQ on the needs of students and provide advice on policy and programs relating to international education and training.

SQ Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said seeking student feedback through representative bodies like QSAP was now more important than ever.

‘QSAP has helped us better understand why international students invest in Queensland for their futures and what sort of experience they want while they’re here,’ Ms Willoughby said.

‘As Queensland prepares for social and economic life post-COVID-19, QSAP will help the Queensland Government better cater to the needs of international students through education, employability and cultural engagement in the new era.

‘Like all of us, Queensland’s international student cohort is living in unprecedented times; their experiences have been made more difficult by being unable to return home and adjusting to online learning.’

QSAP will partner with SQ in a number of ways, including designing the Queensland International Student Leaders Forum and other SQ-led events, and helping develop SQ’s Student Support Framework.

Panel members are selected from students identified as leaders by their peers and institutions.

Domestic student representatives who are passionate about greater integration of international students within the education landscape are also involved in QSAP.

New panel member Tash Drepaul is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts (English) at James Cook University.

The 21-year-old from Mauritius said the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the majority of international students.

‘But there have been some great stories of students coming together to help each other out – whether that’s through mental health check-ins or cooking meals for our friends,’ Ms Drepaul said.

‘Everyone has now accepted the situation and they’re trying to move on.’

QSAP is an initiative of the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

QSAP 2020 representatives met virtually for the first time recently.

The Queensland Government recently boosted its international student welfare package to $15 million with the announcement of a $10 million welfare package to help students left financially vulnerable by COVID-19 to continue their studies.

International education is identified as Queensland’s second-most valuable services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

QSAP 2020 members

Kriti Garg India The University of Queensland
Ameya Deshmukh India The University of Queensland
Simon Wattanatum Thailand Queensland University of Technology
Rohan Gidwaney India Southern Cross University
Tash Drepaul Mauritius James Cook University
Maria Fernanda Colombia ASL
Anna Bejoy New Zealand Griffith University
Alistair Lau Hong Kong James Cook University
Irene Tomarong Philippines University of Sunshine Coast
Jeet Mukherjee India Central Queensland University
Peng Yu Australia (China) University of Southern Queensland
Crystal Paris Australia Bond University
Adriana Meneses Ecuador TAFE Queensland
Erin Ma China Queensland University of Technology

 

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Trade roundtables discuss road to COVID recovery

Queensland firms in the construction and architecture, food and beverage, and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors gathered recently to plan for post-COVID-19 recovery at a series of trade roundtables convened by TIQ.

Queensland firms in the construction and architecture, food and beverage, and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors gathered recently to plan for post-COVID-19 recovery at a series of trade roundtables convened by TIQ.

Led by TIQ Chair the Honourable Steve Bredhauer, the roundtables discussed strategies for recovery, opportunities created by the ‘new normal’, and prospects for collaboration.

Representatives from a total of 23 firms attended the 3 roundtables, joined by key stakeholders, TIQ representatives, and decision-makers from other Queensland Government agencies.

Brad Parsons, CEO and founder of machine technology company MOVUS, attended the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Roundtable.

He said it was a welcome opportunity to collaborate to help Queensland tackle the impacts of COVID-19.

‘Covid is challenging many companies and industries,’ Mr Parsons said.

‘Queenslanders work together in times of hardship, we fight for each other.

‘That’s why we wanted to be there.’

Mr Bredhauer said it was a welcome opportunity to draw on the insights and expertise of some of the leaders in each sector.

‘The companies were very engaged and forthcoming in sharing insights, making frank observations and providing recommendations,’ he said.

‘I am also aware that, following the roundtables, companies have reached out to others to discuss collaboration and support, and it’s great to see the Aussie spirit of working together reflected at a business level.

‘The intelligence we gather from these roundtables will also be provided to the Queensland Government’s Economic Functional Recovery Group and will inform the government’s economic recovery policy and program.’

Mr Parsons said Queensland had specific technology strengths that could be promoted in global markets.

‘The best thing about the roundtable was the spirit of collaboration and open communication between business and government,’ he said.

‘This is a government that is prepared to engage and listen to industry.

‘The key for me is what is done next.

‘I’d like to see action to enable Queensland’s technology ecosystem to collaborate, and promotion of what we do well in Queensland, particularly in the area of supporting remote industry, which is one of our strengths in the global context.’

TIQ will continue to engage with all roundtable participants to respond to issues raised and to discuss and support recovery ideas and initiatives.

The Construction and Architecture Trade Roundtable was held on 22 April. A second roundtable for the technology and manufacturing sector was held on 30 April, and a third for food and beverage firms on 6 May.

You can learn more about the support available to exporters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on our TIQ industry recovery package page.

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Brisbane’s Phibion opens new office in Brazil

Mining technology services provider Phibion has opened an office in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in anticipation of further expansion in Latin America once the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

Mining technology services provider Phibion has opened an office in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in anticipation of further expansion in Latin America once the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

The office, approximately 600km north-west of Sao Paulo, is the next step in Phibion’s plans to become a major service provider in LATAM, with a long-term view to entering the North American market.

Managing Director David Smirk said Phibion had much to offer Brazil in terms of better environmental and safety management of tailings dams.

‘Brazil represents probably the largest opportunity for new tailings dam management technology like ours,’ Mr Smirk said.

‘It has a large, extensive mining industry, and tragically it has suffered some significant tailings dam failure events over the last few years that have resulted in significant loss of life.

‘Everyone in Brazil is now on the front foot looking for safer alternatives and this has provided us with the impetus to enter what had initially been looking like a longer-term market for us.’

The majority of Brazil’s more than 200 mines are located in the states of Minas Gerais and Pará. Phibion’s new office is in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.

Phibion began exporting to Latin America in 2019 with an almost $3 million deal to sell its MudMaster machines to a client in Bolivia.

Using the MudMaster and the company’s Accelerated Mechanical Consolidation technology rapidly reduces the risk and environmental impact of tailings dams by maximising water recovery from mine tailings, the mud-like material that is left after separating out the valuable ore.

This process stabilises the ground, improving mine safety and reducing the environmental footprint of the mine’s operations by enabling land rehabilitation sooner.

Phibion’s MudMaster machines are assembled at the company’s factory in Lytton, Brisbane, and 70% of components are also manufactured in Queensland.

Expansion into LATAM and Australia has increased demand for Phibion’s products, with an increasing assembly program now extending well into 2021.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Latin America Alex Pessagno congratulated Phibion on its expansion into Brazil.

‘TIQ is proud to have supported Phibion’s entry to LATAM,’ he said.

‘Working with world-class Queensland METS companies is one of our priorities here.’

Mr Smirk said TIQ had been very helpful in the LATAM market.

‘To all aspiring METS companies looking to LATAM, we recommend you work closely with the TIQ team in Santiago,’ he said.

‘They will find and open doors you never thought possible.

‘TIQ has led us along a path where we now need to employ more staff to keep up with this demand plus increase our research funding to satisfy our client expectations.’

Mr Smirk said the impact of COVID-19 on Phibion’s operations had presented some challenges.

‘All of our operations have been affected but it’s been more a question of how could we adapt and deal with that,’ he said.

‘We’ve had machines stranded in countries and mines close operations down, but in other places we’ve maintained full operations.

‘Our focus has been keeping everyone healthy and retained on full pay during these disruptions.

‘Brazil is looking ahead past the pandemic, taking the approach that while they have short-term issues which are changing the way we work, they’re focusing on the long term and how businesses can continue to operate through the current disruption.’

Phibion employs 7 staff at its Brisbane headquarters and 18 staff across its offices in Jamaica, Chile and now Brazil.

METS (mining equipment, technology and services) is identified as an emerging export strength for Queensland in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.