The Northern Territory news Wed 19 Mar 2014
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20 BUSINESS WEEK NEWS WEDNESDAY MARCH 19 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Rio pours $50m in to plug gap RIO Tinto will provide an extra $50 million over the next five years to help attract new economic activity and support the community transition in Nhulunbuy and the East Arnhem region. It follows the companys decision last November to suspend alumina production at its Gove refinery in 2014 which will affect 1200 jobs and move to a bauxite operation. Key initiatives being offered in the Rio Tinto package include: Creating a Regional Economic Development Fund to help drive economic development in the region. Launching a Community Investment Fund to further support the arts, recreation and sporting groups, community organisations, and community events and programs. Providing funding, training and business mentors to build capacity in indigenous businesses and support new economic activities, including the potential for mining in areas owned by traditional owners. Offering professional advisers and financial assistance for community members, local businesses and residential property investors. Rio will also offer to make available surplus company houses valued at $90 million to help attract new economic activities to the region. Rio Tinto estimates its ongoing bauxite operation will contribute more than $500 million to the region over the next five years through expenditure on salaries and wages and spending with local suppli ers. The ramp down in alumina production at Gove refinery is scheduled for completion by August this year. Rio Tinto expects to increase bauxite exports from mid-2014 and ramp-up to current bauxite production levels, which is about eight million tonnes a year. The NT Government welcomed Rios announcement. Since the day the curtailment of the alumina refinery was first announced, we have been urging Rio Tinto to do more to help the region and I am pleased that this new package reflects that, Chief Minister Adam Giles said. It is pleasing to see that a new private sector entity will take on management of 250 surplus company houses in Nhulunbuy to attract new economic development activity to the town. Funds to help Nhulunbuy after refinery closesBy MATT WILLIAMS Alice Springs chef Ken Beith has introduced a poultry supplying business to Alice Springs, and plans future expansion after an encouraging response from locals Picture: PHIL WILLIAMS Bird buffs lapping up Kens poultry offerings AN Alice Springs chef of more than 36 years has introduced a poultry supplying business at Yeperenye Shopping Centre. Ken Beith said he had worked for almost all restaurants in town and with his experience his customers enjoyed one of the best services in town. I have brought poultry supplies to Alices doorstep and everything is made fresh on the premises. We do chicken, duck, quail and can do any other poultry on order, Mr Beith said. All means are designed to make it easy for the housewife, we create and all you need to do is cook. He said Alices response has been good, and he would like to expand the business. The response has been great, and the business has created employment for six people, he said. My future plans are to expand the business and give the community the best fresh chicken possible. We bring in chicken from interstate because no one produces chicken here. Our supplies cover a wide range, we supply pubs, clubs, takeaway shops, restaurants and we do bush orders as well. For locals we do free deliveries. I believe in supporting local charities. Our strategy is to support our local community so that they support us, Mr Beith said. Mr Beith said nothing could surpass experience and good customer service in any type of business. A successful business person will tell you that customer service is a priority if a business is to grow and satisfy customers needs, he said. Even through difficult times you can still survive if you know what your customers want. By MLULEKI MOYO Ross gets nod for Katherine apartment gig THE Central Apartments being built over three levels in Katherine will be marketed by local real estate agent Alison Ross of Ruralco Property. A week after the project was launched by Chief Minister Adam Giles and Mayor Fay Miller, apartment developer Northern Reaches announced the appointment of Ms Ross. Local people throughout the immediate region will be interested in purchasing apartments either as owner occupiers or investors, said Lee Kuzmanovic, marketing manager for Northern Reaches Central Point Apartments. Ascot soars on deal for Pilbara iron ore project SHARES in Ascot Resources have risen after the minerals explorer signed a $2 million deal to acquire the Wonmunna Iron Ore Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Ascot is hoping to produce five million tonnes of iron ore from the project, located near Rio Tintos West Angelas and Hope Downs iron ore assets. The deal with explorer Ochre Group includes the issue of 88 million Ascot shares, a maximum of $2 million in cash and a further $29.75 million payable five years after the transaction is completed. Ascot shares gained 1.7 to 9.5. Environmental group forces Santos gas vote SANTOS has been forced to ask its shareholders to vote on pulling out of its Narrabri gas project in New South Wales after a successful campaign by the Wilderness Society. The green group has rallied concerned Santos shareholders to sign a petition calling for the resolution via its own website and activist site GetUp. Under the law, if 100 shareholders owning more than $500 in shares each call for a vote on an issue, it must be put to a companys annual meeting. Santos shareholders will be asked to vote to pull out of the Narrabri gas project a major growth driver for the company. Centurion puts down roots in NT WEST Australian-based logistics giant Centurion, of the CFC Group, has entered into the Territory market. Centurion general manager of oil and gas Andrew Ford said the new Darwin Supply Base further extended the companys network. Darwin combined with our major support bases in Perth, Dampier/Karratha and Broome provides the total one stop shop for businesses operating in the west and north of the country, Mr Ford said. This decision will result in increased support for our oil and gas and resource clients and better position us for further growth. We are extending Centurions network and this is our first venture into the NT. Founded in 1971 with a single truck, Centurion has grown from a general freight transport provider to become WAs largest privately owned logistics company delivering end-to-end solutions. Price drop no worry for Twiggy FORTESCUE Metals chairman Andrew Forrest has ploughed more money into the iron ore miner despite a plunge in the price of the commodity. Mr Forrest, the companys 52-year-old billionaire founder, snapped up an additional $4.9 million worth of shares last week as iron ore entered a bear market. Confidence in Fortescues ability to weather swings in the iron ore price has risen after it repaid $3.07 billion of borrowings early and took steps to lower other debt costs. Even as prices of the steelmaking material slide, the companys earnings are being boosted by a dramatic rise in production. Their story is intact, and theyve now built up a lot of credibility in the market, said Marc Gross, a money manager at RS Investments in New York that oversees $4 billion in fixed-income funds. Its investments included Fortescue debt.