New timber mill for North Coast on the cards
By TOBY WALKER
A TASMANIAN-based timber company that has converted 2000 hectares of Bardool Station into a hardwood plantation has revealed plans to open a sawmilling operation on the North Coast.
This week a travelling party of FEA executives was in the Clarence Valley to familiarise themselves with the publicly-listed company's landholdings at Kangaroo Creek, including Bardool Station.
During the visit, CEO Andrew White signalled the company's long-term intentions to establish its own processing mill.
"I guess our long-term aim is to build in the processing structure," he said.
"Whether we acquire that from an existing operation or move into a greenfields site is yet to be determined."
Mr White said the company had a 10-year plan to establish a solid network of plantations managed from an administrative centre in Lismore.
He estimated the company would directly employ around 100 workers in the region if those plans were fully realised. FEA's Northern Manager, Mike O'Shea, has been given the brief to scout for possible locations for the proposed mill.
Forest Enterprises Australia (FEA) first expanded its operations into the Northern Rivers region in 1999.
The company spends more than $30 million annually buying and cultivating land across the North Coast to add to its growing portfolio of hardwood plantations in Queensland and Tasmania.
On Tuesday, Mr White was in Kyogle to donate $10,000 to an appeal set up by the Kyogle Shire Council to raise money for 140 employees forced out of work by the devastating fire that gutted the Norply mill on Sep- tember 15.