Open Country Dairy has started a multimillion dollar expansion at its Awarua plant to make room for a new dryer, understood to double production at the plant.
Building consents at Invercargill City Council show a tower for the dryer will be built in four stages.
Stage one includes foundations, drainage and ground floor slab of the milk processing facility. The documents show the estimated value of building work for that stage will be $275,000.
Stage two includes construction of the dryer tower structure to roof level. That work is estimated at $2.65 million.
Stage three will include a warehouse, packing ingredients areas, silo slabs and tanker reception. Stage four will include internal finishes and building services.
Consents were issued for stage one on September 23 and for stage two yesterday.
The council is still processing stage three and stage four has yet to be submitted.
An engineering document says the dryer building will be of reinforced concrete about 32 metres high with plan dimensions of 39.9m by 15.8m. It will consist of two deck levels supporting plant items, small intermediate plant maintenance access decks constructed in steel, two precast concrete panel sheer walls on each face and precast cladding panels.
Wellington-based Ebert Construction won the contract for the project. Senior project manager Blair Grier said he expected work would be completed by September next year.
About 80 of the company's Christchurch staff would work on the project and had relocated to Southland for the project, he said. "It will be an impressive structure."
The cost of the completed project was confidential.
In JuneOpen Country Dairy chairman Laurie Margrain told Fairfax NZ the company was eyeing processing expansion in Southland and north Waikato.
Mr Margrain was in Southland last Friday to consult with farmers in the region. He could not be contacted yesterday for comment.
The company has three plants - in Southland, Taranaki and Waikato - and exports to about 45 countries.
Open Country is a private company, majority-owned by New Zealand food group Talley's.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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