Chinese dairy heavyweights Yili’s New Zealand Oceania Dairy Limited factory at Glenavy is to be officially opened next Tuesday.
The factory, which was completed in about 18 months, started accepting milk from nearby dairy farms in early August.
Oceania Dairy Limited would not comment on the official opening of the factory until the day, but said Yili, China’s largest dairy company, would have a strong presence.
Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley is set to attend and said he was looking forward it.
“It will be fantastic. I can’t wait for the opening of the new Oceania dairy factory. I am very excited to have been invited to the opening.”
Mr Rowley said the benefits of Oceania Dairy would be huge, not only to Waimate, but to Oamaru and the wider region.
“We hope it will give the economy in this area a great boost, Oamaru included, and we are confident that it could well bring more jobs and people to the area.
“It’s tremendous, not only the jobs which become available from this, but also the new milk processing plant in Studholme. It’s fantastic for the area.”
In April last year, Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen sold their land to Oceania Dairy, which is now owned by Yili.
Mr van Leeuwen said having the plant built was very positive for the region.
Oceania contracted up to 40 local farmers for the 2014-15 supply season to deliver 130 million litres of milk. As the factory moves to full production capacity by 2016-17, it will process 300 million litres per year, generating 47,000 tonnes of powder for export.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher was in meetings all day and unable to be reached for comment.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
ENTERPRISING: Aad and Wilma Van Leeuwen (left) with Glenda and Ian Moore at the Oceania Dairy factory at Glenavy. Oceania Dairy is officially opening on Tuesday.