Metallica Minerals discovers rare graphite in north Queensland

ABC Rural

Metallica Minerals has discovered graphite at Croydon in north Queensland. Graphite is used in batteries, laptops, lubricants, construction materials, medicine and pencils.

Graphene, which is produced from graphite, is being lauded as having huge potential in the development of computers, mobile phones and aviation materials. Currently there is only one operating graphite mine in Australia, at Port Lincoln in South Australia.

The graphite was found in Metallica’s first graphite-focused core drill hole at the Esmeralda Graphite Project, south of Croydon. The company is yet to receive laboratory results about the quality of the graphite, but Metallica CEO Simon Slesarewich said visual assessments had been positive.

“Visually it looks like the grade is very encouraging, but the proof in the pudding will be when we get these assays back in November sometime,” he said.

“I don’t think it is too early to be excited. A very large intercept like that is very rare globally, so it has the potential to be world class.

“Graphite, unlike many other metals, you can actually visually see it in the core, so it is reasonable to look at that and make an informed assumption of what the grade may be.”

The drill hole intersected more than 120 metres of graphite, and visual inspection indicated the majority of the core could contain more than 10 per cent graphite, up to 20 per cent in places.

Mr Slesarewich said the graphite discovered was a pure hydrothermal mineralisation, which is very rare. While he was excited about the discovery, he said there was a long road ahead. “This is the first drill hole and we’re drilling the second one as we speak, so although it’s exciting and encouraging, a lot of work and questions need to be answered prior to us even thinking about any sort of development.”

Read more.

Bush telecommunications needs help with more reforms

The Australian, 3 September 2015.

Vodafone Australia chief Inaki Berroeta.

Vodafone Australia chief Inaki Berroeta.

Recently I drove to Armidale in country NSW to open a new ­Vodafone retail store with the local federal MP and Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. During the drive I had cause to reflect on the potential for improved mobile telecommunications in regional Australia.

Vodafone will soon be building more than 18 mobile base stations in the region around Armidale, dramatically improving our ­mobile coverage by an extra 2000sq km. This will deliver better mobile coverage and more employment opportunities in the community while giving more choice and competition to local consumers and businesses.

This would not have been possible without the government’s mobile black spot program and the support of the NSW government, which fund not only improvements in mobile coverage but also competition in regional and remote areas where it is severely lacking. The combination of subsidised construction of mobile stations with a requirement on industry to work together to share infrastructure is a major step forward for which both governments deserve significant credit.

Our geography and low population density means there are major challenges in ensuring regional and remote Australians can benefit from a choice of fixed and mobile telco providers.

Many Australian taxpayers would be surprised to learn that over the past decade Telstra has received more than one billion of their dollars to maintain and ­extend its network. There would be a huge outcry if a major supermarket chain received such substantial amounts of taxpayer funds to maintain its market dominance, but such a huge handout to the incumbent telco has gone largely unquestioned.

Further, Telstra charges monopoly prices for other operators to access its fixed transmission links, many of which were built when Telstra was a government-owned monopoly. To build mobile base stations, carriers need to connect to these fixed transmission links to take the voice and data traffic to the rest of the world. But there are some shoots of green; the policy environment is changing. The NBN rollout and the mobile black spot program are solutions

Australia will not achieve its potential, or lift its long-term economic and social wellbeing to its highest level without access to modern telecommunications services at affordable prices.

These are exciting opportunities and we look forward to ­continuing to work with government, industry and consumers to maximise the benefits of more competition and choice in telecommunications for regional and remote Australia.

Inaki Berroeta is the chief executive of Vodafone Australia.

View the full article here.

Peter Tesdorpf to present on the Victorian Regional Passenger Rail 2050 Strategy

Peter Tesdorpf, Principal at Peter Tesdorpf and Associates will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Speaker Introduction: Peter Tesdorpf is a consultant in regional development, urban affairs planning and local government, with 40 years professional experience. He is a former Victorian President of the Planning Institute, a Committee Member of the Rail Futures Institute, played a key role in establishing several regional development organisations in Victoria and NSW and a former Director of a regional organisation of Councils.

Presentation Title: Victorian Regional Passenger Rail 2050: A strategy for growing Victoria’s regional passenger rail services and their role in the growth and sustainability of regional Victoria

Overview: The evolution of Victoria’s regional cities and towns has reached a turning point. Decades of minimal or negative growth have been reversed in recent years by significant population increases in many regional cities and towns, driven by (inter alia) unprecedented metropolitan growth, emerging preferences for alternatives to congested city life, rising capital city house prices, improved lifestyle, social and cultural amenities in regional cities; and improved road and rail links. Government investment over the last decade in Victorian regional passenger rail has been a not insignificant factor in the mix.

These trends are set to continue, driven by the momentum of “agglomeration and critical mass economics” and Government policy to divert some growth from Melbourne to surrounding towns and cities.

Of all Australian States, Victoria’s settlement pattern most closely resembles the “European Model” of a network of connected cities within reasonable distance of each other. It also has (despite shortcomings) the nation’s best regional rail passenger network providing a strong base for future improvement. Despite significant differences between Victoria and Europe, there is considerable potential to build on the State’s historical legacy and new-found growth momentum towards a sustainable, multi-city model of urban settlement.

Passenger rail can and should play a key role in managing and directing Victoria’s population growth: Faster and more frequent rail services between Melbourne and the regional cities would be the single most effective tool for redirecting growth to regional centres, reducing pressure on Melbourne’s outward growth, changing Victoria’s urban development patterns and creating new lifestyle and employment options through reduced travel times.

It is timely to firm up this vision, as the State Government begins community input into a “Regional Network Development Plan” blueprint for regional public transport services.

The presentation will develop a vision for regional passenger rail services to 2050 to serve and shape the future pattern of Victoria’s regional and urban development and develop an overarching strategy including travel demand scenarios, travel markets, proposed routes, services and frequencies, rolling stock and infrastructure requirements, revenue and cost recovery, institutional arrangements, funding models, coordination of transport and land use planning in regions; and broader economic, social and environmental considerations.

About the Conference

The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Themed Redefining the Future of Regional Australia,  the Conference will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

To view and/or download the Conference program, please click here.  For information on registration or to book your delegate pass, visit the website here.

Suzette Jackson to present on ‘Developing Localised Food Economies for Regional Cities’

Suzette Jackson, Director of Innate Ecology will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Suzette Jackson

Suzette Jackson

Speaker Introduction: Suzette Jackson, Director of Innate Ecology, is a sustainability consultant, designer and researcher specializing in sustainable solutions, strategy and research across the multidisciplinary fields of architecture, urban ecologies, and food systems. Suzette has industry experience in sustainable communities and built environments across commercial, residential, governance and community sectors working in Australia and Asia. A key focus is in international frameworks and tools across sustainable cities, precinct and communities, with expertise in GreenStar Communities, One Planet Living and the Living Building Challenge.

Innate Ecology recently completed the Geelong Food Hub Feasibility Study working with Deakin University and the City of Greater Geelong. The study developed an understanding of the food system in the G21 region and a model for a regional food hub.

Presentation Title: Developing Localised Food Economies for Regional Cities
Co-Author: Dr John Rollo

Overview: In thirty-five years, in 2050, the world population is predicted to be reach between 9 and 9.5 billion people, up from 7.24 billion people in 2014. In 1804, just 208 years earlier there were only 1 billion people on earth. Population growth in the past 200 hundred years has been exponential, impacting our ability to feed world populations from the earths resources.

Today nearly 805 million people globally go hungry on a daily basis, while 1.5 billion people struggle with obesity. Yet the global community wastes one third of global food production or four times the amount of food required to feed the malnourished population and significant food supplies are used to feed livestock. The current global food system is unbalanced and not delivering food security for all people, in all regions. By 2050 there will be significantly more competition for quality nutritious food and food in general.

The impacts of global food issues on Australian regional cities are not always clear or well understood. This paper explores food system issues impacting regional communities today and into the future. The paper addresses food strategy development and current food distribution models, including Australian based approaches to food hub models and food hub feasibility studies.

The food system impacts a broad: food production practices impact regional water quality and quantity, soil, plant and animal health, while food distribution practices affect regional communities economic, and social wellbeing.

A regional approach to food production, processing, distribution and waste is fundamental to the resilience, health and wellbeing of a community and the regional economic, social and environmental wellbeing.

About the Conference:

The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Themed Redefining the Future of Regional Australia, the Conference will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Sub themes for concurrent sessions

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the Conference program, please click here.  For information on registration or to secure your reduced delegate rate (Early Bird rates close today) book your delegate pass, visit the website here.