$220m dairy Pokeno plant on schedule

Last updated 08:15 07/01/2014

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Construction is well underway on the Chinese-developed Yashili dairy plant at Pokeno, south of Auckland.

The $220 million project was on schedule and progressing well, Yashili operations manager Terry Norwood said.

Building crews were currently in the process of constructing the store facility, Norwood said.

"The foundations are down for the drying tower and some of the panel work erection has begun," he said.

The plant will feature a range of process buildings, offices, warehouses, service structures and a 41-metre tall dryer tower. This will cover 30,000 square metres of the 67,100sqm site.

The plant is estimated to generate $72 million a year for Waikato's economy and $191m for the country.

Hiring staff to operate the plant should begin in the fourth quarter of this year with the first products due to roll out for export to China at the end of February 2015. The plant will provide jobs for about 120 people and produce 52,000 tonnes of infant formula a year.

Meanwhile, Fonterra's $126 million upgrade at their Waitoa plant, east of Morrinsville, is on target to be operational in March.

Thirty-eight new staff have already started working at the plant.

Another 15 are due to start next month.

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- Waikato Times

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