The strength of Southland's dairy industry means a new Fonterra plant in the south was a possibility but rumours of the co-operative building in Western Southland are untrue, Fonterra says.
Environment Southland consents manager John Engel said Fonterra had not contacted the council about building any structure in Southland.
The co-operative talked to the council about building a transfer station for collecting milk in Western Southland about two years ago, but that plan did not require any resource consents, he said.
Fonterra lower South Island operations manager Keith Mason said a contractor built a temporary transfer station for Fonterra in Western Southland just after the milk dryer at Edendale, called ED4, was built.
There were not enough tankers to transport milk directly to the new dryer, so a temporary transfer station was built as a collection hub in Western Southland until the Fonterra tanker fleet in Southland was big enough to cope with demand.
There were no plans to build another temporary, or permanent, transfer station in Western Southland, but given the strength of dairying, a new plant in Southland was still a possibility, he said.
"On the long-term horizon, it would be hard not to think there would be."
The new milk powder plant in Canterbury was the co-operative's focus, he said.
Fonterra spokesman Kobus Retief said the first dryer near Darfield, called D1, was being tested but the production of milk powder was planned for the middle of next month.
Processing from the second plant for Darfield, called D2, was planned for August next year and would be larger than ED4 in Edendale, he said.
At peak production ED4 produced 28 tonnes of milk powder per hour but D2 was designed to produce 30 tonnes of milk powder per hour and that would make it the largest milk dryer in the world.
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