Dairy company expansion nod

By Brendon McMahon

Westland Milk Products says work on its new $102 million dairy nutritionals drier in Hokitika can commence almost immediately now it has consent.
Westland District Council hearing commissioner Michael Garland on Monday granted resource consent to build the drier so it can produce higher value export products at the Hokitika factory.
In a statement yesterday the company welcomed the approval and said that, subject to no appeals over the next 15 days, work should start soon.
General manager of operations Bernard May said Westland Milk was pleased that the conditions imposed by the commissioner were within the scope expected.
Several of those conditions had been suggested by the company itself, partly to address concerns of potential objectors, Mr May said.
“This is an excellent decision for the future growth and strategic direction of Westland Milk Products,” he said.
The company fully expected the D7 drier to have a “positive impact” on shareholder incomes and bring economic benefit to the community.
Mr May said Westland Milk had a strong history of producing high quality milk powders and butter, but it had made “a strategic decision” to further move production toward high-end nutritional products, such as infant formula.
“Nutritionals consistently deliver higher margins than milk powders and will lead to better payouts for our shareholders, as well as placing Westland on a pathway to a more secure and sustainable future.”
Conditions imposed with the consent meant there would be “almost no additional impact” on the environment.
That was because the Hokitika factory could continue to operate under pre-existing air and wastewater discharge permits, Mr May said.
Shareholders will be fully briefed at shareholder meetings next month.
The new drier will allow the factory to produce an additional 23,000 tonnes of nutritional product each season.
Mr May said the co-operative had engaged Babbage Engineers as project managers and the plant would be built by Tetra Pak.
“It is expected to be commissioned in August 2015 and generate sales of $115m per year when at full capacity.”
The approval for D7 comes on top of a series of investments by Westland including the D6 dryer last season, the new boiler at Hokitika and investigation of a possible milk processing plant at its Rolleston site.