Albany given $12m upgrade

NEW road, rail and port infrastructure is being set up in the Albany region to encourage the development of a plantation wood processor and related value-added projects.

The new infrastructure is expect-ed to cost about $12.65 million.

Resources Development Minister Colin Barnett said he had reached an in principle agreement with Oji Paper and the Itochu Corporation to build a $20 million plantation timber-fed wood chip mill in the Down Road area north of Albany.

The agreement is subject to final feasibility studies and environmental and planning requirements.

Mr Barnett said the Down Road area was preferred because it was close to the existing Mirambeena Industrial Estate.

Oji Paper and the Itochu Corporation, in conjunction with Bunnings Forest Products, are undertaking a feasibility study into a mill based on plantation timber. Timber would be processed for export through the Port of Albany.

The companies expect to export 200,000 tonnes of plantation bluegum woodchips valued at $24 million from 2001, expanding to 1.5 million tonnes or more per annum valued at $120 million in 2005.

The plantations have the potential to produce more than three million tonnes of woodchip per year.

It is expected the woodchip

project will create an additional

230 permanent jobs directly and 275 jobs in indirectly-related industries.

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