Plant to use up to 1 million litres of water a day

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The Ensign chief reporter Margaret Phillips took a tour of the under-construction Mataura Valley Milk plant recently and was impressed with the tonnes of concrete and stainless steel at the McNab site.

Water will be one of the most important ingredients to keep the new Mataura Valley Milk plant ticking over smoothly when it is commissioned – the plant will use a million litres a day at full capacity.

MVM general manager Bernard May said the plant, which is nearing completion, had some of the most technologically advanced equipment and would be able to recycle and reuse 400,000 litres of that water.

Water is being sourced from two bores on the site, as well as from the Gore District Council, thanks to a new source found at the Gore A&P Showgrounds.

Reverse osmosis and chlorination were just two components of the cleansing process before the water was used in the production of niche products such as infant formula, Mr May said.

The plant had the capability to store 1.5million litres of water on site.

the most important ingredients on site,” Mr May said.

The 68m stack dominates the skyline.

The boiler would initially be coal-fired but the plant had the capability to transfer to a more environmentally friendly alternative when a commercially viable option became available, Mr May said.

A stringent drop-off protocol for milk tankers would be be implemented, Mr May said.

Raw milk would be kept away from other areas and ingredients on the plant.

The plant needed to comply with the regulations of various countries, including the United States and China, as well as those imposed by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The milk would be kept below 4.4degC to ensure optimum quality and to meet food safety requirements.

“One of the biggest risks on site is raw milk,” he said.

Processes were in place to kill pathogens in the milk and a large separator was used to take the cream from the milk.

Ingredients other than milk used in making some of the specialised products included vegetable oil, vitamins and minerals.

Mr May said vegetable oil was a good match for components of breast milk.

The product would be held in the warehouse awaiting testing before being dispatched to customers.

A huge air dryer would be used to turn the milk, which had already had the water content removed, into a fine particulate powder, he said.

The products would be made according to the customers’ recipes.

“We make to order.”

The recipes were treated as highly confidential, he said.

The plant had its own engineering and electrical departments and would carry a range of parts and equipment for emergency repairs, he said

The whole plant would be sterilised before production started on August 10.

“Every inch of the plant will be sterilised.”