New Fonterra drier to create 45 jobs

Fonterra intends to crank up its milk processing capacity in the lower North Island, planning a new milk powder drier at its Pahiatua plant.

The company said it was applying for consents to build a third drier at the plant to process an additional 2.5 million litres daily.

The new drier would create 45 new jobs.

Director New Zealand operations Brent Taylor said the extra drier would help ease peak processing pressure in the lower North Island.

“Our two existing driers at Pahiatua are already running at capacity, processing 1.4 million litres a day, and for the past 12 years we have had to send at least 1.6 million litres a day by rail to our site at Whareroa to process,” he said.

"While most of the growth in dairy is coming from the South Island we are still seeing some growth in the North Island and we want to be able to process extra milk in a way that enables the most value to our famers.”

The new drier would be a similar size to Fonterra’s recently opened plant at Darfield in Canterbury.

Taylor said the company had looked into a number of possible locations in the North Island to expand processing capacity and Pahiatua’s proximity to good infrastructure such as a nearby port and rail lines made it a good option.

“We’ve done some initial plans and believe we would be able to build a drier which uses the latest technology so wastewater could be treated and irrigated to neighbouring land. It would also be the first in the country to reuse its own condensate,” he said.

"At this stage it is very early days and our first priority is to talk with the local community before any formal decision is made."

If plans proceed, the new drier could produce up to 85,000 metric tonne of milk powder and use the latest energy efficient processing.

Waikato Times