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Auction of Ord’s oldest tropical sandalwood

The oldest tropical sandalwood to come out of Kununurra will go to the market for the first time at the Forest Products Commission’s (FPC) auction at Harvey on Saturday, 23 May.
FPC is reluctant to put a figure on what is expected at auction but based on current international prices, the higher value wood (Santalum album) is likely to fetch in the vicinity of $8-9,000 a tonne.
Liz Barbour, FPC’s manager of seed technologies, said the auction will give a good indication of the value of the tropical sandalwood projects in the Ord River.
“The 20 year old wood is the oldest tropical sandalwood to be harvested in Western Australia,” she said. “It is only a small amount – 318 kilograms and was collected as part of our assessment trials.”
“In total we have approximately one tonne of tropical sandalwood for auction including eight year old roots and the boles or sapwood.”
“We expect this will lead into larger consignments for auction as we continue our research.”
Part of FPC’s research focuses on continuing the sustainability of the sandalwood industry through the genetic conservation, genetic improvement and understanding the genetic deployment systems. This work is designed to improve the yield and quality of sandalwood oil in the tree.
Also at auction and expecting to bring high prices is a record quantity of quality jarrah bole sawlogs.
FPC operations officer Steve Davis said the 400 tonnes of jarrah bole sawlogs were well above previous lots in terms of quantity, quality and consistency.
“This is a rare opportunity for private buyers to acquire good quality jarrah. We expect the bole sawlogs to go under the hammer for $100-$120 a tonne.”
The bole sawlogs, which are cut from the stump to the crown, average 400 to 600 mm in diameter and are easily millable.
In addition to the Indian sandalwood and jarrah bole sawlogs, there will be assorted native speciality logs, including large individual logs of jarrah (logs and burls), karri, marri, blackbutt and sheoak.
The popular sawn timber will include slabs and boards of marri, karri and jarrah.
The FPC auctions attract both international and national buyers as well as local saw millers, builders, farmers and wood turners from Geraldton to Esperance.
Forest products available in the auction can be inspected at Harvey Mill, 64 Weir Road, Harvey, during normal business hours, Monday to Friday by contacting Steve Davis on 0427 380 632, or on the day of the auction between 8.00am and 9.30am. The auction starts at 10am.