Timber mill branches out to boost business

Plans to revitalize a Marlborough sawmill could be a huge boom for Picton’s port and the region’s economy.

Kaituna Sawmill and Nelson Forests Ltd have revealed plans to boost production.

The move is set to see an increase in jobs and see Port Marlborough expand from exporting around 700,000 tonnes of logs a year to hitting the million mark.

Both companies are owned by Australian company OneFortyOne.

Executive general manager New Zealand Lees Seymour says the company is exploring opportunities to process more logs on shore and to develop alternative wood chip markets.

“In order to increase sawmill capacity there is the need to develop new woodchip markets, you can’t do one without the other.”

The businesses have signed an agreement that highlights how the two companies will work together through the feasibility phase and, if successful, through to implementation.

“The relationship we have with Port Marlborough is outstanding and we are very happy to be able to work with such a professional team,” says Lees.

Nelson Forests have hired a project manager investigate the building of a facility that would enable the export of wood chips from Port Marlborough.

Kaituna Sawmill currently processes about 115,000 tonnes of log a year.

Located just off SH6, a short distance from the Wairau River bridge, the mill employs more than 60 people.

Plans to increase capacity would see an improvement in returns for

Marlborough forest owners and improved environmental outcomes for the region, says Lees.

Port Marlborough CEO Rhys Welbourn says he is “delighted” to working with Nelson Forests.

“This is good news for the port and good news for Marlborough.”

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