Oceania Dairy’s new $214m processing plant being built north of Glenavy is on target and staff numbers employed at the site are expected to ramp up rapidly in the New Year.
Eleven staff are employed by the company at the site presently and recruitment of the management team is expected to be completed early next month.
“When operating at full capacity, the factory will employ approximately 70 permanent staff, with the majority expected to be recruited locally,” Oceania Dairy’s chief executive Aidan Johnstone told the Oamaru Mail.
He said the overall project was on target for completion in time to take milk in August next year.
“The dryer tower has reached 21m, just under halfway to its final height of 47m, and underground services works on site are essentially complete and the office building and laboratory, along with the services building, are on schedule for completion early next year.”
He said the factory boiler was scheduled to be shipped from India next month and work on the drystore was well advanced, with roof and wall cladding nearing completion.
“The 11kV and 33kV works being undertaken by Alpine Energy are on schedule; and the irrigation, water treatment and packing gas programmes are progressing according to schedule.”
Mr Johnstone said at full capacity, the processing plant would be capable of processing 300 million litres of milk per year, generating 47,000 tonnes of milk powder.
Roadworks are being undertaken on State Highway 1 and these should be completed by early next month.
A slip lane, turning lane and lighting are being added to the intersection of SH1 and Cooneys Rd to cater for the increase in frequency and size of vehicles using the intersection when the factory opens.
Oceania Dairy was bought by Chinese company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili) in April.
Powder from the Glenavy plant will be exported to China and used to produce infant milk formula.
By CHRIS TOBIN