Jobs And Economic Impact To Flow From New CH4 SA Seaweed Climate Change Solution Partnership
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Red seaweed technology developer, CH4 South Australia Pty (CH4 SA), has signed a Heads of Agreement with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation (NNAC) today in Adelaide.
The agreement is the beginning of a unique partnership between CH4 SA and the NNAC to develop commercial-scale Asparagopsis seaweed cultivation and processing within the footprint of the Narungga native title in South Australia.
CH4 SA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CH4 Global. CH4 Global plans to aquaculture and process native Asparagopsis red seaweed into a feed supplement for ruminant animals at significant scale at its operations initially in the Port Lincoln area in South Australia as well as in Southland, Marlborough and Northland in New Zealand. CH4 SA will focus on the collaboration with NNAC SA.
The Narungga Nation are the first Aboriginal nation to have signed an historic state level agreement in 2018 with the South Australian Government - The Buthera Agreement. The agreement is a commitment from the government of South Australia to provide support to Narungga Nation to build economic and business opportunities over ten years.
“CH4 believes in circular and regenerative economic principles and is extremely excited by this partnership. Working with the Narungga Aboriginal Nation to generate maximum sustainable benefit for its people - jobs, training, and a leadership role in climate mitigation is what CH4 is all about,” comments CH4 Global CEO Nick Gerritsen.
“The value of the partnership is that it aligns with the recent announcement that the Australian and New Zealand governments recognise the importance of deepening trans-Tasman cultural and business relationships and supporting collaboration on economic opportunities that advance the interests of indigenous peoples.”
“The Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation is very excited to be in partnership with CH4 SA. The partnership provides the commitment and opportunity to be involved in a new and promising industry from the beginning. Our early involvement will ensure that Narungga can play a vital role as a key stakeholder,” says NNAC spokesperson Klynton Wanganeen.
“We will help build it from the ground up and our experience can be a road map to assist other Aboriginal coastal Nations to participate in this exciting new industry. As First Nations people we are very concerned about climate change, this opportunity allows us to contribute positively whilst also addressing unemployment for Narungga people and wider Yorke Peninsula community.
“The commitment to the Buthera Agreement demonstrates the working relationships and we thank the SA government and PIRSA for their ongoing support and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with CH4 SA.”
This new CH4 SA/NNAC venture follows on from a partnership between CH4 SA and the SA State Government and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to explore the potential for this eco-technology.
“Our vision is zero methane agriculture. This new deal will contribute to a sustainable industry, around $140 million in annual revenue within three years and up to 1200 new jobs for South Australia,” explains Gerritsen.
More than ten years of research by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) supports the benefits of Asparagopsis in reducing methane from cows and much of that pioneering work has been repeated by other groups from academic and commercial backgrounds.
CH4 Global has been collaborating with CSIRO to bring Asparagopsis to the commercial market. In addition, Asparagopsis can have a significant positive impact on the marine environment through reducing ocean acidification and cleaning up phosphate and other nutrients from sea and terrestrial sources. And it doesn’t seem to affect the taste of the milk or meat in studies to date.
Trials in the USA and in Australia in sheep, dairy cows and feedlot beef cows show methane reduction effects ranging from 60 up to 90+ percent.
CH4 Global is focused on making it easy and cost-effective for farmers to adopt a simple and viable approach to climate change.
CH4 Global co-founder and chief business officer Dr Steve Meller adds that, “We’re working to make Asparagopsis available for farmers and feed manufacturers as soon as possible. We expect to have research-scaled samples available later in 2020 for those wishing to explore collaborations and we plan to have significant tonnage available for select initial markets less than a year later,” he says.
The feed supplement will be suitable for a range of ruminant animals, including dairy cows, beef cattle, goats and sheep. In Australia, the 2.7 million beef feed lot and dairy cow market is estimated at around $2 Billion annually for this product. CH4 Global sees SA having the potential to become a centre of excellence for production to meet this market need. The role of the CH4 SA and NNAC collaboration will be an important first step in achieving this goal.
“We believe that climate change is real. Action is needed now to change the way we do things. We are realists about convincing the world to do things differently and that means making the change as easy as possible,” says Gerritsen.