Dairy plant tower reaches full height

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The dryer tower at Oceania Dairy’s $214 million dairy plant at Glenavy has almost reached its full height.

Site manager Murray Gifford, of Babbage Consultants, said only one panel of about 3m was required and the tower would reach its final height of 47m.

The tower is the dominant feature of the plant now under construction, and with its completion, the focus turns to the installation of the dryer and associated plant.

Mr Gifford said eight different projects were on the go, with more than 200 contractors on site who had come from throughout New Zealand.

“We’ve got the civil works almost nailed and then the specialist contractors providing services are just beginning.”

Work on State Highway One was completed just before Christmas.

“We just added an extra lane on the highway and had to extend an irrigation culvert. It’s a completed project and been signed off.”

A slip lane, turning lane and lighting were added to the intersection of SH1 and Cooneys Rd to facilitate milk tankers travelling to the plant.

Mr Gifford said there would be multiple deadlines until the plant was commissioned in July.

Meanwhile, Oceania Dairy has named its full management team besides the chief executive, Aidan Johnstone. The managers are: Shane Lodge (quality, compliance), Tony Macfarlane (human resources), Richard Hickson (operations), and Scott Wilson (supply chain).

Mr Johnstone said 20 staff had been employed and the number being appointed was growing rapidly.

A full-time staff of 70 will eventually be employed.

The first milk will be accepted for processing in August and Oceania will contract up to 40 local farmers for the 2014-15 supply season to deliver 130 million litres of milk, which will generate 47,000 tonnes of milk powder.

Powder from the plant will be exported to China and used to produce infant milk formula.

Babbage Consulting is managing the project on behalf of Oceania Dairy.

By CHRIS TOBIN