Cannabis plant, bio­hub join forces

Mas­sive green­house plans to take Util­i­tas’ bio-prod­ucts

The Northern Star - - NEWS - Cathy Adams cathy.adams@north­ern­

THE com­pa­nies be­hind two ma­jor new ventures in Casino have formed an al­liance.

PUF Ventures Aus­tralia (PVA) last month an­nounced Casino was the site cho­sen for a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar cannabis fa­cil­ity. The fa­cil­ity would make the ru­ral town the cen­tre of Aus­tralia’s bur­geon­ing medic­i­nal cannabis in­dus­try with a one mil­lion-square-foot cannabis green­house and pro­cess­ing plant, em­ploy­ing 300 peo­ple and pro­duc­ing 100,000kg of cannabis a year at ca­pac­ity.

Bris­bane-based Util­i­tas Group has pro­posed to build a crowd-funded bio­hub fa­cil­ity to trans­form or­ganic waste and waste wa­ter from the Rich­mond Val­ley into en­ergy, clean wa­ter and other bio-prod­ucts.

They have part­nered with Do­ma­com to raise $4.3 mil­lion to se­cure the site and de­velop the bio­hub.

Now, the two com­pa­nies have formed an al­liance.

Through the al­liance, PVA will have long-term ac­cess to sta­ble en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly en­ergy, nu­tri­ents and re­claimed wa­ter gen­er­ated by the Util­i­tas bio­hub.

“There are sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits to be gained through the al­liance with Util­i­tas,” PVA pres­i­dent and CEO Michael Hors­fall said.

“The Util­i­tas bio­hub in Casino has been de­signed to cre­ate dis­patch­able, re­new­able elec­tric­ity, green nat­u­ral gas, car­bon diox­ide, valu­able nu­tri­ents and re­claimed wa­ter as part of a closed-loop re­source re­cov­ery process. These are all crit­i­cal in­puts for a large green­house op­er­a­tion.

“To­gether with Util­i­tas, we can cre­ate the world’s first closed-loop, re­source re­cov­ery, medic­i­nal cannabis fa­cil­ity, util­is­ing the huge lo­cal biomass from the agri­cul­tural and food pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries to pi­o­neer world-lead­ing clean tech­nolo­gies.”

Clarence MP Chris Gu­lap­tis this week sang the praises to col­leagues in the New South Wales Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly of the two in­no­va­tive in­dus­tries.

Mr Gu­lap­tis said Util­i­tas in­tended to en­gage lo­cal con­trac­tors to build its bio­hub, and three jobs would be cre­ated at its plant.

He said the project would also pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the sale and trans­port of by-prod­ucts.

Sub­ject to suc­cess­ful cap­i­tal rais­ing and an ap­proved reg­u­la­tory path­way, the bio­hub is es­ti­mated to be fully op­er­a­tional within a year.

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