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Last truck carries burnt logs to mill in NSW

The last log truck carrying salvaged, burnt logs from the 2019/20 bushfires was waved into the Hyne Tumbarumba Mill on Tuesday. The unprecedented, 15 months of salvage harvesting has seen more than 1.6 million burnt plantation pine logs processed at the Hyne Mill alone. The burnt bark is removed, and the logs are processed into quality, sawn timber.Source: Timberbiz

The 75.5 million linear metres of timber that has been processed from salvaged logs which would almost wrap around the world twice.

Forestry Corp Regional Manager Dean Anderson told the Tumut and Adelong Times that the salvage operations had been going well – better than expected – but more than half the area burnt in 2019/20 would have to be destroyed, because the trees were simply too young to produce usable timber.

“We’ve managed to harvest everything that was more than 24 (years old). The importance of the 24 is that it’s an age where you’re more confident about saw log quality,” Mr Anderson said.

He said Forestry Corp has been able to keep the mills running at 100% capacity so far, and they had almost finished harvesting the areas of timber that were older than 19 years.

Younger timber and steeper slopes would have to be tackled with different machinery, with the younger areas essentially bulldozed and razed to make way for new plantings.

“We’ve gone a lot longer than we expected,” said Mr Anderson.

Hyne Timber’s CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said this last log truck marked the end of a historic event of collaboration and incredibly hard work,

“To still be accepting burnt logs 15 months after the fires has completely exceeded industry expectations of three to six months,” he said.

“We have been able to maintain the mill’s capacity and supply of locally grown timber throughout the high demand we have experienced for which we thank the Morrison Government’s Home Builder stimulus.

“The efforts of all involved from the growers, the harvesting crews, the haulers, the staff here at the Tumbarumba Mill and our by-product customers has been remarkable and deserves to be celebrated,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

“I know for our team here on site, it has been hard, coupled with the uncertainty of the future.

“Not only do we celebrate this unprecedented achievement, but we have been able to work with suppliers to source some logs from further afield, securing jobs here on site which is welcome news for our team and the community of Tumbarumba.

“Further, we currently have several job vacancies and encourage people to consider joining our resilient business, industry and commitment to the supply of quality, Aussie timber for our construction sector,” he said.

A number of the growers were represented at the Tumbarumba Mill to mark the occasion and enjoy a site BBQ with employees.

Mr Anderson said it was good to see that, despite the devastation of the bushfires, much of the damaged pine plantation could be salvaged,

“Coming to the Hyne Mill to see the last of our burnt loads being unloaded for processing 15 months after the fire is incredible.

“Thanks to the significant cooperation of our customers and contractors we have managed to just about achieve this, except for a few steep areas, salvaging over 2.7 million tonnes in the Tumut and Tumbarumba region.

“This makes this operation one of the longest and the largest salvage operations in history, a testament to the resilience of the local forest industry.

“Well done to all involved,” Mr Anderson said.

Hyne Timber has secured approximately $6M in State and Federal Government support to invest in, and optimise, the Tumbarumba site. These grants will help to offset some of the higher costs of manufacturing due to a reduced log volume and greater freight costs from further afield.