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Matt Mckenzie

Matt Mckenzie joined Business News in June 2014 and reports on resources, infrastructure, agribusiness, small business and economics. He completed bachelor of arts and bachelor of economics degrees at the University of Western Australia, majoring in political science and international relations, economics, and money and banking. He was formerly president of the UWA Student Guild and has worked at a leading financial services company.

Passing Comment

If you need to get in touch with me anonymously or through an encrypted service, you can contact me on Wickr at mattmm. I'd also like to declare that I'm a member of the Liberal Party.      

Strong returns, teething troubles for graphite

Graphite players have posted strong share price gains in the past 12 months and raised $66 million between them, but they are struggling to kick off production of the mineral. 

From minesweeping to mine sites

A Queensland business that uses sensors to detect unexploded bombs in former conflict zones in South-East Asia and Europe is now using its technology to help iron ore miners find pieces of equipment that have broken off in stockpiles.

Credi taps $20bn loans market

A local startup is hoping to simplify some of the complexities that can arise when lending money to friends or relatives, bringing formality to agreements valued at $20 billion a year nationally.

Curtin market research gets personal

If the thought of a premium branded wine or a high-end snack makes your taste buds tingle, Graham Ferguson's psychophysical technology would be able to measure it.

NWQ targets overseas business

West Perth-based fund manager NWQ has opened an office in New York as part of the business's first foray into the US market.

Large drop in WA unemployment

More than 13,000 Western Australians found jobs in April in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as unemployment in the state dropped 0.6 percentage points to 5.9 per cent.

Optimism for WA farmers

Western Australian farmers are among the most optimistic in the nation, according to the annual Commonwealth Bank of Australia Agi Insights report to be released today, with 39 per cent likely to be investing in their businesses in the year ahead.

Ingham's in $70m WA poultry investment

Poultry producer Ingham's Chicken will invest more than $70 million to build a new feed mill near Muchea as part of a plan to grow production volumes in Western Australia.

BHP dropping Billiton

BHP Billiton will begin dropping the "Billiton" from its name in a process beginning this week, and has signalled a further plan to eventually change its registered name, too.

Belgium, Luxembourg grow Aussie interests

Belgium and Luxembourg have been among the biggest contributors to growing overseas investment in Australia, as the level of foreign-owned assets in Australia doubled in the past 10 years to hit nearly $3.2 trillion at the end of calendar 2016.

Quintis drops 36 per cent on downgrades

Ratings agencies Moody's and S&P have downgraded the debt of agribusiness Qunitis, while private equity fund Black Rock revealed it had taken a 5.1 per cent stake in the company.

AMEC slams federal tax concession change

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has strongly criticised a federal government decision to abolish the exploration development incentive tax concession, which it warns will have severe consequences in a climate where exploration is already soft.

FIRB tick for Cloncurry

Altona Mining has received Foreign Investment Review Board approval for a subsidiary of Chinese company Sichuan Railway Investment Group to invest more than $US200 million to set up its Cloncurry copper project in Queensland.

Africa-focused miners in $29m of raisings

Amani Gold has signed a memorandum of understanding with a little-known Chinese investment group to raise $25 million via a share issue to fund drilling at the Giro Gold project in the Congo.

Environmental tick for Pilbara's Pilgangoora

Pilbara Minerals has been given a final environmental tick for its Pilgangoora lithium project, and is now cleared for construction, but the company will be continuing work on project financing.

Quintis smashed by contract loss

Shares in sandalwood supplier Quintis were down 44 per cent today after the company admitted it had lost a contract supplying Nestle five months ago, the second issue relating to a contract this year.

Zenith to pursue renewable power for resources

Shares in Zenith Energy were up 10 per cent to 55 cents after the remote generation operator listed on the ASX today, with the company planning to use the $25 million it raised to move into renewables and microgrid technology.

Locals in lithium contract wins

Three contractors have won work for Altura Mining's planned $140 million Pilgangoora lithium mine, as the company continues work to secure debt financing for the project.

Flinders chasing $16m

Flinders Mines is seeking to raise $16 million to advance its Pilbara iron ore project, with the company needing to fund further work to progress the mine to feasibility stage.

After F1, Malaysia targets Supercars

Perth motorsport enthusiasts may soon have the opportunity to venture to Malaysia to watch V8 supercar racing, as the country seeks new opportunities after hosting what will be its final Formula One grand prix at Sepang later this year.

Blackham takes next step on expansion

The first stage of an expansion plan to double capacity at the Wiluna gold project would cost about $25 million, according to a preliminary study undertaken by Blackham Resources.

Growing quality seafood in its natural Abitat

The aquaculture and fisheries industries are both attracting investor interest as businesses float significant growth plans.

Industry group backs private sector on renewables

The WA Independent Power Association has called for the state government to block a plan by public generator Synergy to set up a new renewable energy fund, while supporting a move to reduce Synergy's capacity.

Next step for Sandfire, Talisman’s Monty

Resources hopeful Talisman Mining has secured a $23 million debt financing agreement to fund the Monty copper and gold project which is to be built in a joint venture with Sandfire Resources.

Creatives trade on China links

North Fremantle-based fashion label Empire Rose is one of three local brands to have secured deals in China in recent weeks, following the Fashion Council WA's partnership with its Chinese counterpart.

Austal to Adelaide in naval work pursuit

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal will open an Adelaide office for shipbuilding design and project management as it seeks to win a $3 billion federal government contract to build 12 new offshore patrol vessels.

WA export trend is on the up

Merchandise exports from Western Australia were up 35.4 per cent in March compared with that same month in 2016, as a clear trend emerges of improving trade figures for the state.

Rossair refines flight plan

South Australian charter airline Rossair Charter Services is making a push into Western Australia, as it refines operations following the recent acquisition of Perth-based Ad Astral Aviation.

Tenfold growth in Chinese investment

Chinese direct investment in Western Australia was more than 10 times higher last year than it had been in calendar 2015, according to the latest data compiled by KPMG and the University of Sydney.

Automotive sector drives attraction to rare earths

SPECIAL REPORT: A pilot plant for WA's second rare earth metals mine is helping broaden the state's resources horizons.

Metalicity refloats Admiral Bay plan

SPECIAL REPORT: West Perth-based junior Metalicity is developing a plan to take the Admiral Bay zinc deposit in the Canning Basin to production, two years after the project was bought from the collapsed Kagara Mining.

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WA returns to growth as Australia avoids recession

GDP has bounced back from a poor showing in the September quarter with December quarter seasonally adjusted growth of 1.1 per cent, while Western Australia snapped a five quarter streak of shrinking state demand to grow 0.4 per cent.

Financial probe for student union

The University of Western Australia Student Guild has dismissed a staff member over financial irregularities after bringing in forensic accountants from BDO to undertake a special analysis of its 2013 accounts.

Warning to Uber moonlighters

Uber drivers using the service as a supplementary income should declare it to their primary employer, according to Minter Ellison partner Kathy Reid, after a driver who had worked during sick leave lost an unfair dismissal claim.

Property player tops 40u40

Blackburne managing director Paul Blackburne was last night named the 2016 Business News 40under40 First Amongst Equals, ahead of a talented and diverse field of candidates.

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McGowan to cancel Roe 8

The Roe 8 road project will be cancelled if the Labor Party wins the upcoming state election, opposition leader Mark McGowan said today, even though the government has already signed a contract for construction, with $236 million of funding to be re-allocated to three alternative roads.

Nalder makes fresh freight link pitch

Transport Minister Dean Nalder has highlighted the social benefits of Roe 8 and touted the minimal environmental impact of the project at a lunch today, adding that the link would need to be built regardless of any move to an outer harbour.

Green light for Kwinana lithium plant

A $400 million lithium processing plant to be built in Kwinana has got the green light, with West Perth company MSP Engineering to act as head contractor.

Feds back unconventional drilling

Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg said the federal government would be pushing states to remove moratoriums on unconventional gas extraction, including fracking, he told the LNG 18 conference today.