FONTERRA OUTLINES PLANS FOR NEW MILK PROCESSING PLANT IN CANTERBURY
Fonterra today announced that it has taken options on land for a planned new milk processing plant in central Canterbury, which it expects to be operating in September 2012.
Fonterra’s Managing Director Trade and Operations, Gary Romano, said the development would be among the largest investments in manufacturing in New Zealand in the past five years and would cater for strong milk growth in the area in the future.
“Canterbury is the fastest-growing dairying region in New Zealand. It is now producing about 15 per cent of the country’s milk for export and growing at a rate of more than 5 per cent annually”, Mr Romano said.
“While it’s still early days, we expect the development would create more than 50 new permanent jobs, on top of the work the construction of the plant would provide for local businesses.”
The options Fonterra is considering for the proposed site include a high-efficiency milk powder plant – similar to the Company’s recently-opened drier at Edendale in Southland. It would employ the latest technology and is currently planned to have capacity to process up to 2.2 million litres of milk per day – equivalent to 200 farms in Canterbury. Other options include a production plant for high-value nutritional milk powders, Mr Romano said.
He said the proposed site was located near the small township of Darfield – about 45 kilometres from Christchurch, and had significant environmental and economic advantages.
“Located at the heart of dairying’s growth in the region, this site would mean fewer tanker movements to collect our farmers’ milk, compared with taking it to another site for processing. Its close proximity to the Port of Lyttelton would also make transporting product for export more efficient.”
“Our first priority is to start discussing our plans with the local Darfield community. We’re looking forward to the community’s input as we work through the planning process.”
Mr Romano said the construction phase of the Edendale plant, opened in February, employed contractors for 766,000 hours and created work for 217 local businesses – reaffirming dairying’s significant and ongoing contribution to New Zealand’s economy.