Milk-powder plant ceremony

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An idea first mooted in 2008 is taking shape with the construction of Mataura Valley Milk’s $200 million milk-powder manufacturing plant at McNab.
An official ceremony to mark the beginning of construction was held at the site on Monday.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from investment partner China Animal Husbandry Group, Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks, Southland Mayor Gary Tong, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, iwi and industry and council representatives.
China Animal Husbandry Group has a 71.8% share in the new venture and Bodco a 5.6% share. Southland dairy farmers will hold a 20% share and the remainder is owned by mainly New Zealand investors. Bodco is a dairy business with a world-class, pharmaceutical-grade blending and packaging plant in Hamilton.
Mr Hicks said the building of the plant was a significant event in the district’s history.
He was alerted to the possibility of a milk-processing plant being built in the district when he received a call from former mayor and businessman Ian Tulloch in 2008.
Mr Tulloch had expected the plant to be up and running in 2010. However, the global financial downturn had delayed the start of the project.
Mr Hicks said he believed there was a silver lining to the delay as the plant now being built would be more sustainable.