North Australia Large Scale Agribusiness – Integrated Food and Energy Devlopments
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Since the 1950’s, the Etheridge Shire in North Queensland, Australia has been recognised for its enormous potential for large scale irrigated agriculture due to its; climate, soil, topography, and abundant and reliable water.
Integrated Food and Energy Developments Pty Ltd (IFED) has been established to realise this potential.
IFED is intending to develop the Etheridge Integrated Agriculture Project (EIAP), a privately funded, large scale, vertically integrated, irrigated cropping, grazing and primary processing enterprise in the Etheridge Shire, North Queensland.
Tropical Australia is one of the few places in the world where opportunities exist for such projects.
IFED is realising the vision by bringing together all of the pieces of the complex puzzle required to deliver this ambitious project. Those pieces of the puzzle include:
- Demand: Ensuring that the project is market driven by identifying domestic and international market dynamics including price and demand trends for agricultural produce and delivering outputs that meet those demands;
- The Land: Identifiying and securing suitable locations and specific properties for agrigation and development, including water capture and storage, cropping, and processing;
- The Project: Overseeing technical research, trials, cost estimates, due diligence and feasability studies for the fully integrated solutions (i.e. land, water, energy, labour and logistics);
- Regulatory Approvals: Managing government approvals and community expectations;
- Sustainability: Adopting state of the art water capture, water storage and farming techniques to ensure environmental sustainability;
- Financial: Bringing all the elements together to secure funding for the project including structuring financial arrangements such as debt and equity participants, arranging joint venture partnerships and securing off-take agreements.
Etheridge Integrated Agricultural Project
The Project was established to create a large scale integrated farm and processing precinct in the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland. A Greenfield agricultural enterprise comprising 50,000 hectares of irrigated cropping land, co-located processing facilities and associated water, electricity and logistics infrastructure will be established.
Sugar cane – already widely grown in Queensland and guar bean – a leguminous crop suited to rotation with sugar cane – will be cropped and processed.
Guar bean is used to produce a natural colloid used in food manufacture and, more recently, coal seam fracking. Increasing demand for gluten free food which requires alternative food additives like guar gum and the very rapid growth in coal seam gas is leading to insufficient supply. The project is well positioned to meet local requirements for guar gum close to one of the world’s hotspots for coal seam methane.
The integrated enterprise includes on-farm and off-farm water storage and water distribution, farm and cattle grazing operations, factories, power station and other infrastructure.
Sustainability and environmental management can be delivered as a central element of the enterprise. New farming technologies can be implemented to reduce impacts and increase productivity.
By-products from farming such as green tops and trash can be used as stock feed when blended with protein by-product from the guar gum plant.
Process water will be recycled as irrigation water returning nutrient back to the farm. The carbon footprint of the enterprise can be minimized. A co-located cattle back-grounding facility enables nutrient-rich manure to be collected and reused in farming operations thereby decreasing artificial fertilizer application. Farm run-off during heavy rain events can be managed across the entire farm to capture sediment and overland flows which will be recycled and used on-farm.
Liquid waste from the processing facilities will be treated in a biogas plant. Biogas will provide additional energy for the cogeneration plant to dry sugar and gum products.
Regional cattle producers bear substantial live cattle transport costs and carcass shrink losses resulting in significantly reduced net returns. In some cases, cattle are left to die on the property rather than transported at a loss for slaughter. Over one million cattle are exported from the region. Processing of marginal cattle from the region will exploit a wasted regional resource.
Keith is one of Queensland’s best known company directors and public figures. He is Queensland President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and is on the National Board of AICD.Keith has taken three companies through successful IPOs on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was Chairman of listed company Macarthur Coal until it was taken over by Peabody Resources in October last year.Over the years he has served as Chairman of Queensland Sugar (QSL) and Australia’s largest irrigated agri-business the Cubbie Group. He has a Diploma of Agriculture from Queensland Agricultural College.He has extensive experience in business administration and corporate governance. He was Treasurer of Queensland from 1989 to 1996.In recognition of his services to Australia, particularly regional Queensland, he has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), Honorary Doctorates from both James Cook and Central Queensland Universities, the University of Queensland Gatton Gold Medal, and the Centenary Medal.
Director and company secretary
David is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of broad business experience including; corporate finance, corporate governance, strategy and business development, sales and the application of technology to business processes.David is currently a Director of InterFinancial Corporate Finance Limited (IFL), which is regularly ranked as one of the top 5 mid-market corporate finance advisory firms in Australia. IFL specialises in Mergers and Acquisitions, Capital Raisings, Financial Structuring and financing strategies.David leads the Food and Agribusiness team at IFL. The company has a long and successful history of providing corporate finance advice to this sector.David is an experienced Non-executive Director and has held several private company Directorships and advisory Board positions.
A senior executive and director with over 30 years’ experience in the water industry in large scale infrastructure design, construction and commercial operation and policy negotiation.Oversaw capital growth of Australia’s largest private irrigation business from, $4 to $460 million.
John’s deep knowledge and experience in the water industry has been sought after for numerous ministerial advisory groups.Extensive experience in various management roles including Joint Managing Director of the Cubbie Group Ltd, the largest private irrigator in Australia.
Stewart is a chemical engineer with more than 25 years experience in the resources, power, ethanol and pulp and paper sectors. He has worked closely with engineering and construction companies, equipment manufacturers, fabricators and constructors and government agencies.
Recent roles include engineering development for the Intex Resources ASA – Mindoro Nickel Project (US$2.2B) in the Philippines and Gladstone Pacific Nickel Project (US$3.5B).
HOW WE CAN HELP
BoxRED Corporate and our Hong Kong associates BSP have executed an agreement with IFED and its advisors to explore ways in which we can assist with introductions to assist IFED and Interfinancial to raise development capital to bring IFED to feasibility stage.
BoxRED Corporate have core competencies in this sector that we leverage off for this client.From 2005 to 2008 BoxRED and subsequently MWS.ASX were mandated for corporate advisory, structural, commercial and succession issues to get client transaction ready to pre IPO status including IM and Prospectus for AUD 240 Mil IPO for world largest organic beef operation. Client suffered aviation crash in Oct 2007 and listing eventually aborted.
BoxRED is also currently jointly mandated with an Australian Company and the lead manager BBY (Australia’s largest non-bank stock broker) to assist in identifying and introducing prospects for the placement of global cornerstones in a proposed AUD100 Mil IPO and to identify and negotiate global off take. The company is focused on building assets in the highest yielding segments of the beef supply chain , and we have been active external to Australia in authoring and negotiating term sheets, negotiating global joint venture heads of agreements, introducing parties capable of providing cornerstone equity, debt and securing offtake from sovereigns and large institutions.
Sean Rothsey’s Family partnership owned developed and operated iconic pastoral properties from 1995 until 2011 including Eskdale West Station, Eskdale South and Avonmore in the Brisbane Valley; The Glen, Fallowfield, Sugarloaf and Liscard in the Pilton Valley, and Noosa hinterland properties Merkin Park, Whyamba Station, Beauty Falls, Highfield and Garryowen Park. With <3,000 breeders and <1,000 ha grain.
See the IFED website here Integrated Food Energy Development
Interested parties should contact Sean Rothsey or Simon Potter to register their interest and to discuss the potential investment. Normal confidentiality arrangements are required as a prelude to the provision of further information.
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