Nelson firm Brightwater Engineering has beaten larger competitors from around the world to win the contract to build a $19 million aggregate plant in Australia.
The firm has been awarded a A$15.5m (NZ$19m) contract to design, engineer and build a new aggregate crushing and screening plant in Melbourne.
Over the course of 18 months, Brightwater will project manage and deliver the detailed design, complete fabrication and construction of the new 600-tonnes-per-hour crushing and screening plant, which will replace an existing 300-tonnes-per-hour plant.
The project will be managed by Brightwater staff based at the company's Australian branches, and will use the firm's Nelson-based staff in the design and fabrication phases.
The project is Brightwater Engineering's second major project for the Australian company, after recently completing a large greenfield aggregate crushing and screening plant.
General manager David McGregor said the project was huge for the company, representing about 10 to 15 per cent of revenue. "It's certainly significant for Brightwater."
As well as the initial design work, some fabrication work for the project would be done in Nelson, he said.
The contract had come after a difficult two years for the company, which included the Pike River disaster, delays with the Bathurst mine and ongoing woes with Solid Energy, he said. The firm had to lay off staff last year.
Mr McGregor said Brightwater Engineering had been up against larger firms from Europe and Australia for the new contract, and he was fiercely proud of its performance.
"All the things that Steven Joyce and the Ministry of Economic Development are promoting, this is all over it."
The contract also highlighted the cost advantages a New Zealand company had over its Australian rivals by using New Zealand-based staff to complement Australia-based staff, he said.
"We're proud of this because it's a significant moment for Brightwater. It's equally significant for Nelson."
Lead designer Gareth Bayley, 25, has moved to the company's Perth office to oversee the project's delivery.
He said it was the first time he had led a design team, and he was looking forward to the challenge.
He had been at Brightwater for three years, and although based in Nelson, he had done stints in Melbourne and Perth.
Brightwater's size meant he had opportunities he would never have had in a larger firm, he said. "There's no way working for a bigger company that I would be doing what I'm doing now."
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