Category archive: Business

Jjron Line of Lode Mine

Mining Ministers to Discuss Homegrown Minerals Supply

Mining ministers are set to meet in Adelaide to discuss ways to increase the supply of minerals used in technologies such as mobile phones and batteries.

The inaugural Council of Australian Governments (COAG) of Resources meeting on Tuesday will discuss policies to ensure the production of “critical minerals” such as lithium, cobalt, graphite, vanadium, nickel, manganese and copper. Despite the abundance of these minerals in Australia, there is no national strategy in place to maintain their supply.

“We need to develop a critical minerals work program which pulls together all jurisdictions and enhances existing state-based initiatives,” said Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

Also on the meeting’s agenda are the role of international corporations in the market, resources industry competitiveness, exploration, innovation and data, communities and workforce, and the gas supply strategy.

Australia Blocks $13B Bid by Hong Kong Company for Pipeline Operator

The Australian government has rejected a $13 billion bid by Hong Kong-based CK Group for the country’s largest natural gas pipeline operator.

In June, CK Group launched a bid for APA Group, the owner of 15,000 km of gas pipelines across New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he blocked the deal because “it would result in a single foreign company group having sole ownership and control over Australia’s most significant gas-transmission business.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, CK Group confirmed that the acquisition will not proceed.

Frydenberg said the government will continue to welcome foreign investment into the country that is not “contrary to our national interest”.

Two years ago, the Coalition government also blocked CK Group’s bid to take over NSW electricity distributor Ausgrid. However, the group’s $7.4 billion acquisition of power company DUET Group was approved last year.

business planning master of business research

Do You Need A Degree to Start A Business?

Most of us have entertained the idea of becoming our own boss and opening our own business – but entrepreneurship can be a big, overwhelming decision, especially if you don’t have any experience or qualifications. Many entrepreneurs would recommend taking a leap and starting your company right away – after all, experience is the best teacher! However, business schools can also offer a lot of valuable knowledge and other perks.

But before you sign up for that Master of Business Research program, read our breakdown below on what you can get from getting or skipping qualifications.

Starting a Business Without a Degree

If you decide against going to a business school, you can save time, money and energy. Business courses can come at a significant cost and take years to complete. Furthermore, the formal educational structure may require you to take up impractical courses and tough assignments that don’t always translate to real-life business situations.

“Having graduated from the business school at University of Wisconsin-Madison, I’m grateful for the quality education I received — but none of the skills necessary to start and run a business needed to be learned in a classroom,” said Joe Sweeney, co-founder at 100state and CRO at GrocerKey.

 

Getting a Degree Before Starting a Business

However, there are many different benefits of getting qualified. Most business schools will cover the fundamentals, such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, logistics and so on. You may not turn out an expert in all these fields, but it’s always good to know a bit of everything.

Apart from gaining knowledge, you can also expand your network and find like-minded individuals which you can tap on for partnership, investment and hiring purposes. Moreover, as a business student, you have a better chance of finding mentorships and other opportunities of interest, such as incubator programs and special grants.

 

Will you be signing up for a business course? Whatever your choice is, it’s always wise to evaluate your options before starting a company. Consult this Starting your business checklist by the Australian Government to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

cloud solutions

More Businesses Want Hybrid Cloud Services, Survey Finds

More IT managers around the world are looking to adopt a hybrid of private and public cloud solutions, a new report has revealed.

A survey commissioned by software company Nutanix on 2,300 IT managers across the world found that 91 per cent see hybrid cloud as the “ideal IT model”.

Public cloud is increasingly found to be insufficient to serve business needs. On average, public cloud users spent a little over a quarter of their IT budget on public cloud, and over a third of these users overspent their annual budget. Furthermore, almost all respondents (97 per cent) said application mobility across any cloud was their top priority, and 23 per cent agreed that hybrid cloud would improve interoperability between clouds.

Hybrid cloud users are also more satisfied with their services. More hybrid cloud users said all their needs were being met with 49 per cent, compared to single public cloud users at 37 per cent. 87 per cent of respondents also said the hybrid cloud trend affected their businesses positively.

“As enterprises demand stronger application mobility and interoperability, they are increasingly choosing hybrid cloud infrastructure,” said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer at Nutanix.

“While the advent of public cloud has increased IT efficiency in certain areas, hybrid cloud capabilities are the next step in providing the freedom to dynamically provision and manage applications based on business needs.”

Lack of talent seems to be the main barrier to adopting hybrid cloud for businesses, with the scarcity of hybrid experts and talent retention issues. Gibson said organisations should find hybrid cloud talents “especially in the next 12 to 24 months”.

The Enterprise Cloud Index research was carried out by Vanson Bourne on 2,300 IT decision makers from multiple industries, business sizes and geographies in the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, Africa; and Asia-Pacific and Japan regions.

 

A $38M Tesla Battery Plant to Run in SA Starting Next May

A $38 million Tesla battery plant in South Australia is on course to be running in May 2019.

The new 25MW/52MWh grid-scale battery will be built by Infigen Energy at the Lake Bonney wind farm with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the state government.

“This project has had its challenges but it’s actually travelling very well at the moment,” said Igor Brandao, general manager of development at Infigen.

“It’s comprised of 296 battery packs and 48 converters …These are all containers that will be sitting on a bench and connected to the substation which is where the Lake Bonney wind farm connects into.”

Infigen’s CEO Ross Rolfe said the Tesla battery will help Infigen to become an active electricity market participant. “With this capability Infigen will be able to expand its supply contracts from the Lake Bonney Wind Farm to additional commercial and industrial customers in South Australia, which is at the heart of our business strategy,” said Rolfe.

“We will also be able to reduce our exposure to FCAS costs and respond to the impact of the five-minute settlement rule when it is introduced in 2021.”

The plant is expected to last 10 to 15 years.

Tesla has previously built a battery plant in the state’s Hornsdale region, which is now owned and operated by French renewable energy company Neoen.

Since the 100MW/129MWh Hornsdale power reserve went live, South Australia has seen reduced costs in calling for back-up energy, also known as Frequency Controlled Ancillary Service (FCAS). According to AEMO’s first Quarterly Report of 2018, FCAS costs dropped 57 per cent or around $33 million in the plant’s first quarter of operation.

Battery has played an important role in keeping South Australia online, especially after the statewide blackout in September 2016.

peabody energy mates in construction mining r u ok

Australian Mining Companies Join Suicide Prevention Program

As Australia celebrates R U OK Day, an industry has been working on its own awareness program. More than 1,000 construction and business sites across the country are taking part in MATES in Construction Fly the Flag Day, a campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

MATES national chief executive Chris Lockwood said the number of participating sites has more than doubled last year’s, indicating greater momentum for the program.

“For the first time this year we have mining and energy businesses participating along with construction sites,” said Lockwood.

As part of its campaign, the organisation has trained over 140,000 workers to develop life-saving skills to recognise co-workers’ possible struggles and intervene when needed. According to Lockwood, 190 Australians who work in the construction industry take their own life each year, accounting for a suicide every second day. Australian Mining reported that construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than a workplace accident.

“The construction industry, which is predominantly male, has a culture that can often leave workers feeling isolated and not knowing how to ask for help,” said Lockwood.

“Factors such as job insecurity, high work demands, and financial stress combined with relationship breakdowns put workers in the construction industry at greater risk and MATES will continue to do all we can to prevent suicides in this and similar high-risk industries.”

Brad Geatches, MATES chief executive for Western Australia said that the industry was partly responsible for workers’ distress due to its competitive, insecure nature. However, ”society is generally becoming more aware of the issue of mental health and suicide, it’s coming out of the shadows, stigmas are breaking down,” said Geatches.

Australian Business Conditions Continue Declining in July

Business conditions have slipped again in July across most Australian industries, continuing the downward trend starting in April.

The NAB’s monthly business survey revealed that conditions fell in the mining, manufacturing, retail and finance sectors. “The retail sector remains clearly the weakest, declining again in the month to see the retail conditions index fall to 0 points,” said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.

Construction became one of the few industries to have a “sharp” increase in conditions, which Oster said likely came from “the large pipeline of both residential and infrastructure-related work”.

Measures of trading and profitability also dipped in July, with the latter falling five points to +10.

However, business confidence remained relatively consistent, rising one point to +7. Employment index also rose five points to +10. “The employment index – based on historical patterns – is consistent with jobs growth of around 23,000 per month, which should see the unemployment rate continue to edge lower over the rest of 2018,” said Oster.

Mining industry had the highest employment index, followed by finance, business and property services and construction.

“Overall, the survey results are broadly in line with our outlook for the economy for the rest of 2018,” said Oster.

“The business sector looks relatively healthy, and we expect to see enough employment growth to see a gradual reduction in spare capacity, which should in time see a rise in wage growth, and a more general lift in inflation.”

Amazon Continues Dominating Cloud Infrastructure Market

Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the cloud computing infrastructure market, although Microsoft is catching up with its Azure offering.

A new report by Gartner found that the worldwide market for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) public cloud services grew 29.5 per cent with a revenue of US$23.58 billion in 2017, increasing from 2016’s $18.213 billion. The top four vendors – Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba and Google – represented 73 per cent of the market, with Amazon holding a little more than half of the market share.

“The top four providers have strong IaaS offerings and saw healthy growth as IaaS adoption is being fully embraced by mainstream organisations and as cloud availability expands into new regions and countries,” said Sid Nag, research director at Gartner.

On the second spot, Microsoft took home a $3.13 billion in revenue in 2017, a 98 per cent growth from the previous year’s $1.579 billion. This growth is expected to continue after the company’s latest quarter, which saw the revenue from Azure public cloud service increasing by 85 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Alibaba and Google also saw a significant growth of 63 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. Gartner attributed Alibaba’s rise to its investment in research and development.

“This reflects a fundamental change in what and how organisations are consuming technology,” said Nag.

“Some legacy infrastructure offerings, such as IUS, are seeing lower and slower uptake that impacts the combined IaaS and IUS market… Additionally, a groundswell of demand for cloud-skilled personnel is forcing technology providers to change how they compete to meet this exploding demand.”

Luis Villa del Campo Nasdaq

US-China Trade War Sinks AUD, Global Stocks

The rising tension between US and China in trades has sent almost every major asset sinking, including oil, global stocks and Australian dollar.

The Trump administration announced that it will impose a 10 per cent tariff on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including consumer items such as clothing and refrigerators. This decision followed China’s implementation of reciprocal tariffs on $US34 billion in US import goods.

The Dow Jones was down 0.9 per cent to 24,700, while the S&P and Nasdaq closed 0.7 per cent and 0.6 per cent lower respectively.

Chinese stocks declined by 1.6 per cent, while European markets such as Paris, London and Frankfurt lost between 1.3 and 1.5 per cent each. Japan’s Nikkei also dropped by 1.2 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 1.3 per cent.

Gold fell 0.9 per cent to $US1,244.4 per ounce, while brent crude oil was down 6 per cent to $US74.17 per barrel.

Australian dollar plunged 1.2 per cent to 73.65 US cents, and is expected to continue declining. “We remain of the view that trade tensions are likely to get worse before they get better and as such we still see more downside risk for the Australian dollar,” NAB’s senior foreign exchange strategist Rodrigo Catril told the ABC.

AGL Announces Power Price Drops

AGL has announced price drops for power in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, following competitor Origin’s similar move this week.

Residential electricity prices will be cut by 0.3 percent in NSW, 1.5 percent in Queensland and 0.4 percent in SA, much lower than what market analysts predicted.

“While these price cuts are slight, they’re part of a downward trend that is emerging as more investment in new sources of supply comes into the market,” said AGL’s chief customer officer Melissa Reynolds, referencing the increasing network and green costs.

“We understand power prices have been high and that has put pressure on many households.”

On Tuesday, Origin announced that it will cut residential electricity prices in south-east Queensland and SA by 1.3 percent and 1 percent respectively, while maintaining the same prices for NSW and the ACT.

Origin’s Power Price Changes. Source: Origin/ABC

Both drops are far lower than the Australian Energy Markets Commission’s (AEMC) forecast, which expected 5.8 percent fall in NSW, 7 percent in south-east Queensland and 6.9 percent in SA in 2018-19.