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Forestry player back in action

MACHINES at a controversial saw-milling operation in Oldbury, 30 minutes south of Perth, are being turned back on again this week after being bought back out of the hands of liquidators by the original founders and investors.

Sawmiller Gordon McLean and Perth project consultant Wayne Ryder have salvaged their sawmilling operations built by McLean Recycling Industries on land reclaimed from landfill and with the backing of five Western Australian and Chinese-based investors.

The five investors have ploughed $1.1 million into the venture for a 70 per cent share while Mr McLean and Mr Ryder each retain a 15 per cent share in the new investment vehicle, Phoenix Rare Timber Limited and its subsidiaries Phoenix Forest Products Pty Ltd and Phoenix Land Development Pty Ltd.

Louis Nilant and Oren Zohar from Clout & Associates were appointed liquidators of the mill and land owned by the company on Jackson and Bird roads, Oldbury last year.

A creditors’ meeting in August was told that BankWest was owed $890,000 of the $2.2 million in debts outstanding.

A project review by Phoenix indicates that it paid $1.19 million to become debt free.

Mr Ryder said the company was now going forward with a clean financial slate. He said Busselton businessman Jim Harman was also expected to invest a further $580,000 into the project, which is forecasting to process 5,000 tonnes in its first year of operation

Property and project consultant Tim Colclough is representing the new shareholders, including Hong Kong accountant Alan Rennie, on the board.

It is understood the firm signed a supply agreement with Japanese silicon manufacturer Simcoa for up to 10,000 tonnes per annum on May 23. 

In its first year of operation the firm is hoping to generate net profit of $663,710 on a turnover of $4.5 million. By the second year turnover is expected to double while net profit is forecast to increase to $1.6 million.

Local opponent and environmental activist Paul Nield said he was deeply concerned with what the company was now planning to do.

“Phoenix have indicated that they want to expand which will further contaminate the place. This is a real concern. It is really scary,” he said.

The company continues to deny the existence of contamination on the site.

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