Wed, Sep 21, 2022 9:59 AM

Fonterra plant closure looms


Staff reporter

Fonterra has announced it will be closing its ageing Tuamarina plant and transferring current activities to the Brightwater Plant.

The Tuamarina plant was opened in 2005 to concentrate milk and reduce onward cartage to its Clandeboye Plant.

Further environmental requirements mean the out of date plant does not meet current strategic planning goals.  The company is still working through what to do with the facility.

Fonterra also plans to stop making milk powder at its Brightwater plant near Nelson in April 2023, affecting 28 jobs.

The company would shift milk processing from the small ageing plant at Brightwater to its bigger Darfield site near Christchurch in April next year, Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray said.  

The move meant milk would be processed at Fonterra's Darfield site, which was in line with the co-op's long-term strategy, Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray said.  

"We know milk supply is declining over time, so we need to make sure we're getting the most out of every drop of milk and optimising our plants to match both consumer demand and available milk supply.  

"Part of Fonterra's long-term strategy was to direct more milk into its food service and consumer business, less into Ingredients, and in some cases, to divert product away from the Global Dairy Trade auction," Whineray said.  

This, along with forecast capital and maintenance costs, meant the co-op had to make the "tough decision" to close the milk powder plant at Brightwater, he said.

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