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Australian Cannabis Outlook 2020: Legalization on the Horizon

INN takes a look at the current state — and the projected growth — of the cannabis industry in the Oceanic nation for 2020.

Click here to read the latest Australian cannabis outlook.

Australia’s burgeoning cannabis market is attracting attention from investors as it develops.

Now, with increasing moves to push for drug legalization and steadily rising numbers of medical cannabis patients, the country is starting to build a lucrative cannabis space.

Here the Investing News Network (INN) takes a look at the current state and rapid growth of the cannabis industry in the nation into 2020.

Australian cannabis outlook 2020: The path to legalization

Australia legalized medical cannabis in 2016, when the Narcotic Drugs Act was amended to allow the drug to be grown for medical and scientific purposes for the first time since it was outlawed in 1938.

The amendment allows businesses to apply for a number of different licences, including cultivation, manufacturing and research.

Despite the substance’s illegality, recreational use of cannabis has remained high. A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that marijuana is the most extensively used illicit substance in the country.

As such, full cannabis legalization has been an ongoing movement within Australian parliament.

In some of the country’s states, like the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), strides have been made to legalize adult use of the drug.

In the ACT, Labor Party member Michael Pettersson has introduced a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. It would allow people to possess up to 50 grams of flower and grow up to four plants outdoors per residence, or two per person.

The bill was passed in September 2019 and will take effect in January 2020, though some industry experts say its conflict with overarching Commonwealth legislation could prove to be a challenge.

More broadly, cannabis legalization has been a big part of the platform of the Australia Greens political party. Prior to Australia’s federal election this past May, the Greens were vocal about pushing the Labor Party to take the lead on marijuana.

In an interview with Smart Company, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the party wants to allow people to grow up to six plants and establish a controlled market for the sale of cannabis products.

Australian cannabis outlook 2020: Increases in medical cannabis research

Save for one medical cannabis product — nabiximols — medical cannabis is not an approved medicine in Australia under Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulations. The TGA is the Australian equivalent of Health Canada, the regulator for the first G7 nation to legalize recreational use of the drug.

Patients who want to access cannabis products for medicinal purposes can use the Special Access Scheme, the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or a clinical trial.

Alexandra Curley, head of insights at research company Prohibition Partners, told INN that Australia’s current system could work to the country’s benefit when it comes to expanding the medical cannabis industry in Australia.

“What is very interesting with Australia is that the country is basically trying to get some of those stumbling blocks out of the way to ensure a smooth transition to incorporating medicinal cannabis onto the pharmacopoeia,” she said.

With the legalization of medical cannabis, research on the efficacy and safety of the drug has taken off in Australia. In 2017, the federal government established the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE), the country’s first federally funded centre for medical cannabinoid research.

ACRE director Jennifer Martin told Health Europa in April that the country needs to open the path for cannabis research.

“In 2014-15, Australia was in uncharted territory, with a strong push from patients and their relatives for medicinal cannabis to be available before it had become a registered product,” said Martin.

Martin added that ACRE’s research application is an opportunity for Australia to “establish a world-class pharmacovigilance, data monitoring and collection system.”

She continued, “ACRE has already taken critical steps to make this happen and it will enable direct and robust evidence to inform government, prescribers and the public.”

Other institutions, including the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney, have also been at the forefront of researching cannabinoid-based treatments.

The research has been to the benefit of the cannabis industry in the country overall. Initially, doctors were apprehensive to prescribe the drug due to a dearth of information, but research has been pivotal to increasing the use of cannabis.

“Our doctors are more educated about cannabis as a therapy, and also we’ve got a number of cannabinoid clinics that are actually opening up, so it’s easier for our patients to access,” Fleta Solomon of Little Green Pharma told INN.

Australian cannabis outlook 2020: Looking toward future development

Moving forward, Australia has been looking to become an export powerhouse in the cannabis space since the export of medical cannabis was legalized in 2018.

That year, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on ABC Radio that the country is aiming to become the world’s number one supplier of medical cannabis.

Since then, cannabis companies have been taking advantage of the legal freedom.

In September, Little Green Pharma shipped the country’s first locally grown medical marijuana products to Frankfurt-based cannabis firm Cansativa.

Another Australian company, Bod Australia (ASX:BDA), announced in July that it had entered into an agreement with UK-based pharmaceutical company PCCA to import Bod’s medical cannabis products across the UK and Ireland.

Solomon mentioned that along with the UK and Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Thailand are all countries Australia is looking to establish connections with in the marijuana space.

She added that “regulatory hurdles” are still in the way of these expansion plans. But developments at the federal level may soon make it easier for marijuana firms to solidify themselves in the global cannabis industry.

In September, a report for the Narcotic Drugs Act was tabled in Australian parliament recommending a complete rebuild of the licencing regime to “reduce the regulatory burden” on industry players and allow more support for the development of the industry, according to Australia’s health department.

According to the report, as of June 2019 the Office of Drug Control had received 246 licence applications, and had granted 63 licences, including 24 medicinal cannabis licences, 16 cannabis research licences and 23 manufacturing licences.

Australian cannabis outlook 2020: Investor takeaway

Though the Australian cannabis market is still in its infancy, it is well positioned to grow into a contender in the global marketplace for cannabis. Projections from Prohibition Partners put the country’s medical cannabis industry at AU$3.1 billion by 2028.

Curley said that Australian companies are well aware of their growing standing in global cannabis.

“The companies in Australia very much see that they have an opportunity to come centre stage, and they can really compete with the Canadian giants,” she said. “There’s a number of companies that are really ramping up efforts to produce and develop the market.”

For Australia, the phrase “Cannabis 2.0” has a much different meaning than it does in Canada, where it describes the shift to edible cannabis-infused products. Experts are expecting to see the Australian sector find its footing during this upcoming stage of development.

“The Australian market has now entered what we call Cannabis 2.0 — a phase of the market defined by real patient volumes, real revenues and real profits,” said Tim Drury, CEO of Southern Cannabis Holdings. “In 2020 we expect a shakeup of the market with new group of market leaders to emerge on the back of strong business models.”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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There are many big Australian gold stocks, but these are the five top companies in the sector by market cap.

Australia is the fourth largest producer of gold worldwide, and this past year has brought ups and downs for the commodity. The precious metal hit its 2021 high point early on and fell soon after.

Lately, gold has been resting at a strong price of around US$1,800 per ounce, and it seems like it will exit the year that way. It may even be in for a serious price hike if inflationary pressures continue on their current trajectory.

Read on to learn more about Australia’s five top gold companies by market cap. All market cap and share price information was obtained on November 25, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.


1. Newcrest Mining

Market cap: AU$19.54 billion; current share price: AU$24.14

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) operates a portfolio of gold mines across Australia, Canada and Papua New Guinea. These include its New South Wales-based Cadia mine and its Western Australia-based Telfer and Havieron mines.

In November 2021, Newcrest agreed to purchase British Columbia-based Pretium Resources (TSX:PVG,NYSE:PVG) for C$3.5 billion, marking the company’s expansion into Western Canada.

2. Kirkland Lake Gold

Market cap: AU$14.57 billion; current share price: AU$54.99

Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX:KLA) has mining operations in Australia and Canada, both of which are low-risk, gold-rich countries. The company’s Fosterville mine is based in Victoria, Australia, and as of December 31, 2018, its mineral reserves stood at 2.7 million ounces. It produced 640,467 ounces in 2020.

In September 2021, Kirkland Lake Gold and Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM,NYSE:AEM), a Canadian gold miner, announced a “merger of equals." The new company will go by the name Agnico Eagle Mines, and the companies expect the transaction to close in late 2021 or early 2022.

3. AngloGold Ashanti

Market cap: AU$12.43 billion; current share price: AU$5.83

AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) is a global gold miner formed in 2004. It has two Australia-based operations, both of which are based in Western Australia’s northeastern goldfields: Sunrise Dam and Tropicana. Sunrise Dam is 100 percent owned, while Tropicana is 70 percent owned, with the remaining 30 percent owned by Regis Resources (ASX:RRL,OTC Pink:RGRNF). In 2020, these operations produced 554,000 ounces of gold.

In Q3 2021, AngloGold Ashanti reported total gold production of 613,000 ounces at a total cash cost of US$927 per ounce. This represents a 5 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in production, though a year-to-date decrease.

4. Northern Star Resources

Market cap: AU$11.39 billion; current share price: AU$9.66

Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) is an Australian gold-mining company with projects throughout Western Australia and North America at its Kalgoorlie, Yandal and Pogo production centres. In the 2021 fiscal year, Northern Star experienced a 40 percent revenue increase and a 10 percent cash earnings hike.

In late November 2021, Northern Star announced an agreement to buy Newmont Australia’s power business for US$95 million. The company paid US$25 million for the option to purchase this business, an opportunity it was given through its recent 50 percent acquisition of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.

5. Evolution Mining

Market cap: AU$7.53 billion; current share price: AU$4.12

Australian gold miner Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has projects throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, as well as in Ontario, Canada. Evolution Mining produced 680,788 ounces of gold in the 2021 fiscal year at an all-in sustaining cost of AU$1,215 per ounce.

In 2019, Evolution Mining became one of only two Australian gold companies to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (INDEXDJX:W1SGI). In 2020 and 2021, the company made several strategic acquisitions and divestments, including its high-value purchases of the Red Lake and the Kundana operations.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

What are the largest Australian copper companies? These five ASX copper stocks are the biggest on the exchange by market cap.

Last year, pandemic restrictions forced copper mines to shut down across the world, driving down global production and causing the 10 largest copper-mining companies to suffer dramatic losses.

But in 2021, copper hit an all-time high of US$10,700 per tonne, and stayed over US$9,000 for much of the year.

The three top copper-producing countries globally are Chile, Peru and China, with Australia coming in at number six. Still, there are plenty of untapped resources in the land down under, and Australia is making a name for itself as an up-and-coming producer of this important base metal.


Read on to learn more about the top five Australian copper companies on the ASX, ranked by market cap. All market cap and share price information was obtained on November 26, 2021, from TradingView.

1. BHP

Market cap: AU$192.56 billion; current share price: AU$38.03

BHP (ASX:BHP) is a top global producer of copper, nickel, potash, iron ore and metallurgical coal, with copper production centralised at its South Australia-based Olympic Dam mine.

The company, whose headquarters are in Melbourne, Australia, emphasises copper’s function in renewable energy systems and the metal’s critical role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Recently, BHP has focused its attention on its energy assets. In late November, the company merged its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum, a deal that was originally struck in August of the same year. On the mineral side of its operations, BHP was looking to acquire Noront Resources (TSXV:NOT,OTC Pink:NOSOF), a Canada-based nickel, copper, chrome and platinum company, but decided not to match a superior offer.

2. OZ Minerals 

Market cap: AU$8.77 billion; current share price: AU$25.70

OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) is a South Australia-based copper-mining company founded in 2008. Its operations include the Carrapateena project, where construction was completed in 2019, and the upcoming Malu underground mine, which was commissioned in 2015.

In a November press release, OZ Minerals reported a year-to-date 5 percent increase in group ore reserve copper metal tonnes. In its third quarter results, the company reported guidance of between 120,000 and 145,000 tonnes of copper for the year.

3. Sandfire Resources

Market cap: AU$2.59 billion; current share price: AU$6.11

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) owns 7,189 square kilometres in the Bryah Basin region of Western Australia, including its DeGrussa and Monty operations. Both of these are 100 percent owned and produce copper and gold.

The company released its third quarter results in October, reporting total copper production of 15,946 tonnes. Sandfire expects output of between 64,000 and 68,000 tonnes of copper in 2022.

4. 29Metals

Market cap: AU$1.29 billion; current share price: AU$2.63

Australia-based mining company 29Metals (ASX:29M) has the Golden Grove mine in Western Australia and the Capricorn copper mine in Queensland, along with several promising new growth opportunities lined up. 29Metals focuses on copper production, though it also mines for zinc, gold and silver.

According to an October release from the company, production was weaker than expected at Golden Grove during the September quarter. However, the asset's quarter-on-quarter decline of about 10 percent was largely offset by a strong performance at Capricorn.

5. Copper Mountain Mining

Market cap: AU$804.96 million; current share price: AU$3.81

Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C) is a Canadian and Australian copper miner, with its flagship Copper Mountain operation in British Columbia, Canada, and its Eva and Cameron copper projects in Queensland, Australia.

In the third quarter, Copper Mountain Mining reported total output of 22.4 million pounds of copper at its Copper Mountain mine, representing a 12.1 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in production. The company still reported positive cash flow, with strong construction and exploration gains made at its Eva and Cameron projects.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.