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New woodchip facility in SDA will bring 100 new jobs

Thousands of logs sit on Auckland Point wharf ready to be shipped to China.
Thousands of logs sit on Auckland Point wharf ready to be shipped to China. Allen Winter

FORESTRY timber damaged by Cyclone Marcia will create up to 100 direct jobs over the next 18 months to two years.

HQPlantations now has State Government approval to establish temporary export wood chipping and sawlog facilities in Gladstone.

The timber will come from one million tonnes of salvaged wood, damaged during TC Marcia.

The woodchip facility will be within the Boat Creek Corridor section of the Gladstone State Development Area near Yarwun.

Gladstone Ports Corporation has been working with HQPlantations to begin export of the damaged trees and woodchip from Auckland Point.

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The first ship is expected to be loaded today.

The GPC reported remediation works were still required on some of the idle equipment at Auckland point 1 to be ready for the first shipment of logs.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the operation of the temporary woodchip facility, approved by the Coordinator-General, was critical to the viability of the export operation.

"This temporary woodchip facility will process timber from cyclone-damaged pine tree plantations in the Byfield area for export as chip through the Port of Gladstone," he said

Cyclone Marcia crossed the coast at Byfield, north of Yeppoon, in March, causing extensive damage to 80% of HQPlantations'12,000 hectare pine tree farms.

HQPlantations is Queensland's largest plantation timber company.

CEO Mr Brian Farmer said harvest operations for these export operations would ramp up to a peak of 3000 tonnes per day in late 2015 and early 2016.

"It is a race against time before rot makes the trees and logs unsaleable," he said.

"The short timeframe is a logistical challenge, but is necessary to recover some value from the plantations and reduce fuel loads and fire risk to local communities."

Mr Farmer also confirmed HQPlantations was committed to replanting the Byfield plantation estate.

"Re-planting has already commenced with the establishment of 165ha since February," he said.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher welcomed the news of new jobs in Gladstone.

"It's great to see something positive in central Queensland coming from Cyclone Marcia," he said.

Topics:  cyclone marcia employment gladstone jobs timber



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