Nut plant gets final approval

A PLANT to process 4000 to 5000 tonnes a year of macadamia nuts got final approval yesterday from Bundaberg Regional Council.

The council’s planning and development committee yesterday approved the plant, to be built on land at the Bingera sugar mill.

Bundaberg Sugar agribusiness co-ordinator Scott Coleman said the plant was a joint venture with Bundaberg Macadamias.

“The project started last year and construction is almost finished,” he said.

“We will have some capacity for the 2011 season, which starts in about a month, and be fully operational for the 2012 season.”

The plant will source macadamias from plantations owned by Bundaberg Sugar and Bundaberg Macadamias.

Mr Coleman said the operation of the plant, which would be heavily automated, would be limited to two employees per shift.

“The industry in Bundaberg employs a lot of people in the orchards, but automating the sorting process keeps costs down,” he said.

Mr Coleman said macadamia nuts were extremely sensitive, and the company was aiming at producing a very good quality kernel.

The plant at Bingera would sort, dry and despatch the nuts.

“How you treat them in the shell has a big affect on their quality,” he said.

The nuts, still in their shells, would be sent to plants in northern NSW for final processing.

Mr Coleman said the plant was totally unrelated to the Bingera mill, but was sited on the same piece of land.



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