Progress at dairy plant

The lower cone section of a drier tower is installed at Oceania Dairy's new milk plant in Glenavy...
The lower cone section of a drier tower is installed at Oceania Dairy's new milk plant in Glenavy last week. Photo supplied.

Construction of a milk plant that will bring 70 new jobs to Glenavy is ''stepping up another gear'', Oceania Dairy says.

The $214 million milk-processing plant is being built for China-based company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, which gained approval from the Overseas Investment Office to buy Oceania Dairy last year, and Oceania chief executive Aidan Johnstone said 31 new jobs had already been filled.

Mr Johnstone said more than 350 people, mostly from North Otago and South Canterbury, had applied for roles at the plant, which was on schedule to take milk in August.

''Applicants are entering our recruitment process from a wide range of employment backgrounds and bringing a great diversity of skills to the table.

''We are very focused on the quality of our workforce so the depth of the applicant pool is really encouraging.''

He said a further 40 roles were expected to be filled over the next five months.

When operating at full capacity, the factory, which would be capable of processing 300 million litres of milk per year, would employ about 70 permanent staff, he said.

The drier and the calandrias (evaporators) in the plant's 47m drier tower have been installed and the generating bank and final boiler components will be delivered to the site in late March.

A statement from Oceania said although the drier tower was the most visible sign of progress, construction of other buildings on site, including the site offices, services building and the dry-store were all ''well advanced''.

''Work on the water treatment contract and the refrigeration contract within the services building is now under way. Work on the underground services on site is now complete and roading preparation works within the factory site have commenced.

"Roading has commenced at the dry-store entranceway from Cooney's Rd and the central car park, and this will continue across the site in co-ordination with access requirements of contractors completing other site works.''

Electricity supply works, being undertaken by Alpine Energy, were also ''on schedule''.

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