District Council of Grant Mayor, Richard Sage and acting council CEO Jane Fetherstonhaugh toured the Tarpeena, South Australia mill to view progress together with Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson on 7 August. They witnessed the significant technological upgrades that are turning the Tarpeena site into a world class facility, securing more than 200 full-time jobs at the mill for a generation to come. Source: Timberbiz
“Value added timber manufacturing is key to the economy and the communities in this region. It is fantastic to see Timberlink making such a significant investment, creating jobs for today and securing them for the future,” said Mayor Sage.
According to Timberlink domestic output does not meet Australian demand for softwood products such as timber framing and this upgrade will result in Timberlink being one of the few Australian producers increasing production in the coming years. Vitally, the upgrade program will ensure the mill remains internationally competitive.
The investment is one of the largest ever by an Australian softwood sawmill and will take three years to complete.
Currently a new CFK (contra flow kiln) and new electrical substation for Tarpeena are being constructed, bringing the latest technology into the region while creating jobs in areas such as construction, logistics and engineering.
The addition of the new CFK for drying timber will give the Timberlink Tarpeena mill the largest continuous drying capacity in the southern hemisphere.
The new CFK will replace seven existing batch kilns, with a higher capacity and a 30% improvement in energy usage per cubic metre and an improved carbon footprint.
The kilns are heated by renewable biomass pine plantation residues.
Timberlink is the only major Australian Softwood sawmiller with both key environmental certifications, FSC and Responsible Wood.
Mayor Sage and Ms Fetherstonhaugh were particularly impressed by the work Timberlink is doing to upgrade safety systems at the mill.
“Nothing is more important than safety at a facility like this and I was particularly pleased to see the attention that Ian Tyson and his team were putting into this area” said Ms Fetherstonhaugh.
The safety improvements include the creation of a new dispatch yard, woodchip collection point and the roll out of the Home Safe program.
Recently the mill has been able to take on new apprentices and contractors during the upgrade works. The mill underpins 680 direct and indirect jobs and contributes more than $180m to the local economy each year.
“Timberlink is committed to the Limestone Coast region long-term,” said CEO Ian Tyson. “Pine trees take almost 30 years to grow and $90m is a significant outlay, signalling the businesses confidence in the region to support the investment.”