New dairy plant started

By Janna Sherman

Two major multi-million dollar investment projects are now under way at the Hokitika dairy factory.
The first sod was turned yesterday for Westland Milk Products’
$102 million nutritionals drier plant, which will have the capacity to produce an additional 23,000 tonnes of nutritional product each season.
Excavation works began to prepare the northern site next to the drier 6 plant and adjacent to the new $26m boiler and boilerhouse, which are now well under construction.
That project is expected to be commissioned in September this year, while drier 7 is expected to be turning out product by September 2015.
Project manager Felicity Lane said the new drier would have the capacity to make four tonnes an hour of infant formula and 5.5 tonnes an hour of whole milk powder.
When at full capacity sales of $115m a year are expected to be generated.
Westland Milk Products operations manager Bernard May said the start of the D7 works was a significant step for the company’s foothold in the nutritionals industry.
“Westland is pleased to see the commencement of work on D7. This is a substantial investment in the sustainability of the dairy industry on the West Coast and a continuation of our strategic move into high value nutritional products where we see more sustainable and improved returns for shareholders,” Mr May said.
Meanwhile, the boiler project was on track with another major component to be completed this week.
“The boiler external walls will be fully completed this week,” Mr May said.
“Installation of steam piping, water piping and electrical continues. The boiler is still on target for commissioning early next season.”
The 30MW boiler will replace two older boilers, improving the energy efficiency at the dairy factory, as well as increasing production capacity.