The plant, which will have 50,000 tons capacity and will provide 20 new jobs, will manufacture and supply feed primarily to the Tasmanian salmon industry, as well as other aquaculture species in both mainland Australia and in New Zealand.
In January last year, the company revealed it had secured the site in question and that it was working to obtain the necessary planning approvals to commence construction of the new mill in 2017.
Asked why it took so longer than anticipated to get to the build phase, Ridley managing director and CEO, Tim Hart, told us: “Tasmania have very thorough local government and EPA approval processes for new developments, which we congratulate them on. It was a matter of working through the process and we are looking forward to the construction stage.”
Mill to be on stream mid-2019
He expects a build time of around 18 months. “However, significant pre-planning could possibly reduce this. We anticipate providing feed to the industry by no later than mid-2019.”
Projected spend is up to AUD $50m in the project, he added.
The company also secured a AUD $2m grant for the build through the Office of the Coordinator General under the Business and Jobs Attraction Initiative - a package created by the Tasmanian government to attract business and jobs to the region.
Hart said the specific details of the grant are confidential. “We are not at liberty to disclose.”
The CEO stressed that the Tasmanian Government is very focused on supporting the economic development of Tasmania, promoting jobs and boosting the development of the local aquaculture industry. “The Ridley aqua feed mill is a key part of infrastructure that assists this growth strategy while supporting economic growth and development of the local community.”
Construction of the facility will require around 250 contractors, including engineering consultants, civil, structural and electrical services, said the company.
Ridley, which manufactures feed and feed ingredients for the aquaculture, dairy, poultry, pig, beef, horse, canine, laboratory and pet food industries, has 21 manufacturing facilities across Australia, and a joint venture in Thailand.
Tasmania is the largest producer of fishery and aquaculture products in Australia, with the farm gate value of the salmon industry alone worth over half a billion dollars per year.
Ridley confirmed that salmon industry growth rates are forecast to remain strong into the near future, with the cold waters making Tasmania the only region in Australia suitable for the cultivation of the salmon biomass.
BioMar also targeting Tasmanian fish feed market
Danish fish feed group, BioMar, is also building a new aqua feed production factory in northern Tasmania.
The construction on the plant in the Wesley Vale will begin mid-2018. "We expect to be on stream Q4 2019,” a spokesperson told us in December last year.
Once operational, the facility will have capacity of up to 110,000 tons annually, said the company. It will provide feed for Atlantic Salmon and King salmon (in New Zealand), trout, Yellow Tail King Fish, Baramundi and shrimp.
The Tasmanian government is funding the development of the facility to the tune of AUD $2.3m, and the company said the local Office of the Coordinator-General also helped it secured the new site.