New plant about to go nuts

A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR macadamia processing plant is about to take root in Oakwood.

Consolidated Nuts general manager Shane Johnson said the company was aiming to have the facility up and running by the start of the next macadamia season.

“We’ve started earthworks this month and cleared the land,” Mr Johnson said.

“The building design is in the process of being approved and, if the rain holds off, we hope the building work will be finished by September or October.”

The factory is expected to employ up to 50 workers, and will process 15,000 tonnes of macadamias a year — making it five times bigger than the company’s current facilities.

Mr Johnson said that the jobs would be created in stages as Bundaberg’s macadamia industry expanded.

“We will be dealing predominantly with local growers, and the growers who are expected to move into the area,” Mr Johnson said.

The factory’s completion is scheduled to come at an opportune time for the industry, after Growcom macadamia industry development officer Patrick Logue predicted the region’s macadamia output was set to double within 10 years.

Management from Consolidated Nuts, which is linked to Hinkler Park Plantations, met with staff from Bundaberg Regional Council to gauge support for the project before submitting a development application in May last year

Plans were approved for the 2400sq m facility on Rosedale Road, Oakwood, at a special planning committee meeting in September.

The factory has approval to run from 6am to 11.30pm from Monday to Sunday — but due to noise constraints, the nuts must only be unloaded between 7.30am and 5pm, six days a week.

Delivery trucks will also be limited to 7.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

The plan is to construct the facility in two stages.

The first stage will involve construction of a new building, while the second stage will allow for the construction of an extra building connected to the original one.

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