Plenty River Mining
Plentex, initially known as Plenty River Mining Company NL, listed on the ASX in 1983 and operated as a mineral exploration company in Australia and several overseas countries until late 1997 when it assumed the role of project developer of a world scale ammonia/urea (fertilizer) project on the Burrup Peninsula of Western Australia.
During the period 1997 until 2005 the Company (then known as Plenty River Corporation Limited) was involved in several joint ventures with major international fertilizer companies, including Chambal Fertilisers & Chemicals Limited of India, Agrium Inc. (now Nutrien) of Canada, and later Dyno Nobel (now part of Incitec Pivot Limited), and several of the world’s leading ammonia/urea technology providers and engineering contractors.
The Company was forced to retire from this project in late 2005 when rapidly rising gas prices and construction costs negatively impacted the project’s economic viability.
Around this time, the Company resumed its interest in mineral exploration and changed its name to Plentex Limited. In 2006 Plentex acquired mining and exploration interests in the Georgetown region of North Queensland, held by privately owned Georgetown Mining Limited, and several ASX listed companies. The acquisition of Georgetown Mining Limited and the other tenement acquisition transactions entered into were considered by the ASX to constitute a significant change in the scale of the Company’s activities under ASX Listing Rule 11. Plentex obtained Shareholder approval of these transactions at the Company’s 2006 AGM held on 22 November 2006.
Immediately following this approval in accordance with ASX Listing Rules, trading in Plentex’s securities was suspended pending the Company satisfying the admission and quotation requirements of ASX Listing Rules 1 and 2.
The Company was unsuccessful in its attempts to raise funds which would have facilitated re-quotation of its securities on the ASX due to the onset of global financial crisis, and in May 2009 reluctantly sold its gold mining project and exploration interests in North Queensland to the Australian subsidiary of a German company, Deutsche Rohstoff AG, which subsequently bought the gold mining project into profitable production.
Microalgae – Biofuels and Nutriceuticals
In October 2009, Plentex embarked on an exciting new direction with an investment in Victorian based private company, Blue Sundial Pty. Ltd., which it ultimately acquired in September 2011 with the aim of becoming Australia’s first commercial supplier of biofuels derived from large scale cultivation of microalgae.
Through collaborations with South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Flinders University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Plentex moved its focus from the production of biofuels from microalgae to the potential production of high value nutraceuticals and a fish oil replacement in aquafeeds.
In late 2013 the Company’s biotechnology pathway was positively advanced when an opportunity emerged to acquire a business which was developing a range of microalgae based human dermaceutical products. A spin off company, Xerion Limited, was established by Plentex in May 2014 to separately finance and develop Plentex’s expanding biotechnology related interests, and Plentex sold its relevant IP to Xerion for shares and options in Xerion.
The year 2013 was also marked by Plentex’s establishment, in conjunction with Flinders Partners Pty. Ltd. (the commercial arm of South Australian based Flinders University) of Nest Group Limited whose business platform was to be the commercialization technology developed in selected partner universities.
Nest was subsequently restructured and became known as UnIPartners Limited. Later the name and corporate status of the company was changed to UnIPartners Pty. Ltd.
Involvement in Philippines
The year 2013 also saw the beginning of Plentex’s interest in business opportunities in the Philippines, with Plentex initially being drawn to the country by the prospects of developing aquaculture focused businesses. Plentex’s initial focus was in the Tacloban area on the island of Leyte.
In late 2014 Plentex established Plentex Philippines Inc. (PPI) to focus on the development of agri-business opportunities in the Philippines which would become Plentex’s core business and subsequently established PPI affiliated companies, Plentex Realty Inc. (PRI), Plentex Agri-Milling Corporation (PAMC) and Plentex Aquafarms Corporation (PAC).
These companies have been set up to manage each stage of the PPI business plan.
Plentex’s focus since 2015 has been the development of PPI and its key projects involving the processing of rice, cassava and coconuts along with establishment of the foundations of its planned aqua-culture business.
The Phase 1 facilities will be built on a block of 1.5 ha known as Suhi Lot 1 which PPI is leasing under a long term lease from the City of Tacloban. Suhi is a suburb of Tacloban located approx. 12km north of the City of Tacloban. The initial facilities will include a factory unit to house the rice and cassava mill and storage for process materials and product, along with an operations, maintenance and administration building. It is expected that the Phase 1 facilities will be built and ready for operations within six months of funding being available.
Phase 2 is the planned construction and operation of a fully-integrated coconut processing plant that will produce coconut water concentrate, coconut flour, coconut fibre textile/rope, virgin coconut oil, paring oil, coco-peat and coconut shell (to be used as process fuel). The Phase 2 plant will be located on Suhi Lot 2 (which abuts Suhi Lot 1), a block of 4.6 ha of freehold land owned by PRI.
PRI has also contracted to purchase a 2.2 ha block (known as Suhi Lot 3) which abuts Suhi Lots 1 and 2. This block will house part of the coconut processing facility.
To further Plentex’s aquaculture ambitions, PRI in mid 2015 acquired a decommissioned multi species hatchery on Guintarcan Island near Villareal on the island of Samar, some 35 kms by water from Suhi. PRI has partially renovated this hatchery and it can be brought into operation for comparatively modest expenditure to serve as the nucleus of Plentex’s aquaculture operations.
Commencing in 2013 Plentex through PPI developed relationships with the University of the Philippines (UP) and Tarlac Agricultural University (TAC) which has led to the signing of exclusive technology licences in relation to the growing of a red seaweed (halymenia durvellei) and the potential extract from it of high value products, and in the case of UP and TAC, ProEn-K. ProEn-K is a high protein feed meal produced by the fermentation of sweet potato or cassava that can be used as an alternative protein to replace expensive fish meal and legumes (such as soy bean) in aqua and stock feeds.
In 2014 Plentex also established Protemax Pty. Ltd. (Protemax) as the corporate vehicle for its proposed Australian based aquafeed/petfood manufacturing activities.
With the increasing focus on its Philippine business activities, Plentex has wound back its Australian operations which now consist of passive investments in Xerion and Protemax and analysis of other potential synergistic business opportunities.
See further detail in relation to Xerion and Protemax.
Merger with AgriNurture Inc. (ANI)
On 7 December 2018 Plentex entered into 3 transaction agreements with ANI, a Philippine Stock Exchange listed company (PSE:ANI) pursuant to which ANI has agreed to invest A$3 million in Plentex and sell its First Class Agriculture (FCA) business unit to Plentex, in return for the eventual issue to ANI of a total of 63,500,000 fully paid ordinary shares in Plentex. These transaction agreements were approved by Plentex shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 29 November 2019. Completion of these transactions has been delayed but is expected to take place shortly.
The Plentex shares which are to be issued to ANI are to be issued in a number of tranches with the result that ANI will ultimately hold 60% of Plentex’s total issued capital.
For further detail refer to Latest News.
Stock Exchange Relisting
Subject to market conditions, Plentex intends to relist on the ASX in early 2021 via a capital raising to generate funds for its important phase 2 projects including coconut product processing.