BlueScope Steel has reported a $530 million net loss after tax (NLAT) for the first half FY2012, including restructuring costs of $260 million, impairment of deferred tax assets ($184 million) and income advanced under the Federal Government’s Steel Transformation Plan (STP) ($46 million).

This compares with a $55 million reported NLAT in the previous corresponding period.

Underlying NLAT for the half was $129 million, which includes year end net realisable value (NRV) adjustments of $53 million. Excluding NRVs, the result was $76 million,  compared with $47 million for the prior corresponding period.

Construction giant Abigroup has been appointed preferred tenderer for the construction of two new water treatment plants in Bowen and Proserpine in North Queensland.

The Federal and Victorian Governments have awarded the $152 million Western Highway expansion project to John Holland.

The Queensland Government has launched its masterplan for the coming 20-year Warrego Highway Upgrade Strategy.

A new agreement between Woodside, the North West shelf Project and the Pilbara Institute will see a new centre for excellence for mechanical engineering and apprenticeship training delivered to the Pilbara.

The Federal Government has passed the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Amendment (Transition to Fair Work) Bill, bringing the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner a step closer.

Roofing materials that double as solar panels and can also moderate the temperature of buildings are among the next-generation building products being developed at UNSW.

Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced it will commit a further $3.17 billion to the major expansion of its Pilbara iron ore operations in Western Australia.

John Holland has been awarded a $220 million contract for the construction of stage 1 stockyard works for the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) project at Golding Point in Gladstone Harbour, Queensland.

Construction firm Baulderstone has won the tender to construct the $105 million TAFE SA Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC) at Tonsley Park.

Researchers in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Wollongong have developed novel grades of advanced high strength Twinning Induced Plasticity (TWIP) steels containing up to 30 wt.% Manganese.


Unlike conventional steels which are either strong but not ductile or conversely, are ductile but lack mechanical strength, TWIP steels exhibit an excellent combination of strength and ductility and represent a major breakthrough for steelmakers.


However, questions regarding the micro-mechanisms that lead to such outstanding mechanical behaviour remain controversial scientific issues. Consequently, TWIP steels have been the object of intense worldwide research activity over the last decade. Their future adoption by automobile manufacturers hinges on gaining a thorough understanding of the multiple complex deformation mechanisms and thereafter, reducing alloying and production costs for industrial-scale manufacturing.


With the aim of developing UOW’s knowledge base in TWIP steels, a PhD project is ongoing at a UOW Research Strength -- the Engineering Materials Institute (EMI). The groundwork for this research is being undertaken by PhD student Mr Ahmed Saleh under the co-supervision of Professor Elena Pereloma and Dr Azdiar Gazder.


Professor Pereloma is the Director of the BlueScope Steel Metallurgy Centre, the EMI and the Electron Microscopy Centre (EMC) located at the Innovation Campus while Dr Gazder is a Research Fellow at the EMI and EMC.


The initial phase of the project is aimed at understanding the behaviour of TWIP steel after rolling and subsequent heat treatment; along with the methodologies typically employed during the production of sheet metals. The second phase involves understanding the micro-deformation mechanisms controlling TWIP steel behaviour during downstream forming operations.


“Both parts of the project are heavily reliant on our state-of-the-art equipment at UOW’s Faculty of Engineering,” Dr Gazder said. “These include our recently acquired PANalytical Xpert-PRO X-ray goniometer and our customised JEOL-7001F Field Emission Gun -- Scanning Electron Microscope. These machines are the top of their class and are capable of in-situ observations. They provide us with a unique set of tools to characterise complex crystal-scale mechanisms in near real-time.”


In the quest to develop advanced high strength steels, the research is now receiving international recognition. Some of their findings published in two top journals - Materials Science & Engineering A and Scripta Materialia - have been listed in the ‘Top 25 Hottest Articles’ for April-June and July-September 2011, respectively.


“The publications deal with our in-house developed Electron Back-Scattering Diffraction (EBSD) analysis technique”, Mr Saleh said.


“Our methodology has enabled us to deconstruct the mathematical EBSD maps into various constituent parts. This has opened a unique window into the morphological and crystallographic changes occurring in TWIP steel during heat treatment. In some cases this has allowed us to answer a few of the long-standing scientific questions while in other cases, to confirm hypotheses proposed by other researchers.”


“Only a handful of key institutions in the world are undertaking similar research. Both Ahmed and Azdiar have been taking full advantage of our modern electron microscopy facilities for their experiments and data analysis”, Professor Pereloma said.


“In fact, Ahmed has also been awarded Neutron Diffraction beam time on two successive occasions through a competitive proposal process at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA. He is currently working in close collaboration with researchers there in order to model the in-situ deformation behaviour of this special steel.”


“Ahmed will complete his PhD by September this year. So we are in the process of publishing his work on Neutron Diffraction – which incidentally also confirms our findings at the EMC,” Dr Gazder said.


“We hope to provide steelmakers and the car industry with a commercially viable niche product -– affordable, lightweight TWIP steel with absolutely unique mechanical properties.”


Construction giant Theiss has won a $325 million contract from coal seam gas explorer and producer QGC to construct gas-processing facilitates for the Queensland Curtis LNG Project (QCLNG).

Construction of the $4.6 million upgrade to Devonport Airport has begun, and is due for completion by the end of the year.  The upgrade will involve a major terminal refurbishment, as well as improved amenitites, security screening and luggage check-in facilities.

Industrial engineering group Bradken Limited has reported a net profit after tax for half year ended December 2011 of $43,1 million, a 13 per cent increase over the previous sing month period.

Theiss has announced it has won a six-year mining contract to extend mining operations at OZ Mineral’s Promionent Hill Copper and Hold Mine in South Australia.

The Western Australian Government has announced dozens of bores will be upgraded or replaced and six new bores installed as part of a $24 million water source project in Albany.

The South Australian Government has announced work has started on the $30 million wetlands project in Adelaide’s South that will, at capacity, capture 2.8 billion litres of stormwater each year.

Downer EDI Limited has been awarded a six year magnetite mining contract with Karara Mining Limited (KML) for the provision of services at the Karara Iron Ore Project in Western Australia.

Engineering and construction company Clough Limited has been awarded a A$350 million contract for the offshore hook-up and commissioning component of the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project.

John Holland has been announced as the Managing Contractor to deliver the $43 million Robertson Barracks Electrical Reticulation System Upgrade Project for the Department of Defence in the Northern Territory.

BHP Billiton has announced it has approved $855 million in funding for the initial works at its Port Hedland harbor facilities.

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