With global demand for sandalwood products continuing to strengthen, Perth-based company WA Sandalwood Plantations has established what is believed to be the world’s largest single sandalwood plantation, located east of Perth in the State’s central wheatbelt. With site preparation work completed in April, more than 5 million trees were planted over recent months on 2200 hectares.
“Our inquiries show this is the largest ever individual sandalwood plantation established anywhere in the world,” said WA Sandalwood Plantations’ managing director Keith Drage.
“Global demand for sandalwood continues to increase while supplies have declined. As a result, the future is looking very bright for the Australian sandalwood industry.”
Once the sandalwood trees are harvested in approximately 15 – 20 years, they will be used for the production of a range of items including joss sticks (incense), perfume and medicinal items.
The project generated significant regional employment for both contractors and casual employees who carried out the planting. In addition, a number of local businesses in the Corrigin, Quairading and Beverley areas are benefitting from the supply of goods and services.
WA Sandalwood Plantations (WASP) is the largest privately funded grower of Australian sandalwood in WA.
In November 2010 the company signed a confidential Deed of Agreement with one of the world’s largest asset managers to source appropriate land and establish and manage native Australian sandalwood plantations on their behalf in Western Australia.
The agreement also allows for the investor to engage WASP to source and manage additional sandalwood plantations in Western Australia in the future. The signing of this agreement increases WASP’s managed portfolio of sandalwood significantly.
WASP was recently appointed manager of the sandalwood assets of the failed managed investment scheme player, Rewards Group.
WASP has entered into a management agreement with the new owners of the land and forestry assets, which total some 5,800 hectares of established sandalwood plantations.
The plantations are located within the Shires of Goomalling, Narrogin, Pingelly and Wagin, Western Australia.
“We have worked closely with the new owner during the due diligence process, and subsequent to settlement of the acquisition the parties formalised the Management Agreement. We are excited about the varying aspects of market development that scale of this size brings,” said Drage.
The appointment of WASP increases the company’s total area of established sandalwood under management to some 10,000 hectares.
”The variance in age class, from new plantings to 10 year old sandalwood across the estates WASP manages will allow for a sustainable supply of plantation grown sandalwood into the market place from 2015 onward. The mixed age class also delivers a substantial annual nut harvest, the market for which is developing rapidly,” Drage said.