Dairy factory on track
Plant’s backers remain ‘confident’
The company behind the proposed Arapuni Milk dairy factory remains confident the $ 100m development will go ahead.
Resource consent for the dairy plant has been appealed to the Environment Court by Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust.
Last week South Waikato News reported concern from South Waikato District Mayor Neil Sinclair that this could see the plant’s backers pull out of the project.
In a press statement received by SWN yesterday it was also revealed the milk powder factory requires further investment ‘‘to get the project to final sign-off’’.
Spokesman Richard Stapel said Arapuni Milk’s parent company Zoagn Ltd remained confident, describing both the resource consent and investment issues as ‘‘ hiccups’’ rather than factors impacting on the plant’s future.
‘‘The resource consent appeal needs to be negotiated to achieve a resolution,’’ Mr Stapel said in the statement.
He also said the global recession had made raising capital ‘‘ a diffi- cult task’’ but said Zoagn were talking to a range of groups.
‘‘Now with project consent process well advanced we are experiencing high levels of interest from investors for the Arapuni Milk project and we are also considering the option of bringing investment funds targeted for future projects, in earlier, to fund Arapuni Milk.
‘‘ Whichever funding option comes to fruition it is inevitable that Arapuni Milk will now experience a three-to six-month delay in the project construction start date making first milk processing date August 2012
Mr Stapel, who is in China at present, confirmed strong Asian interest in the project. ‘‘Nevertheless ZOAGN remains very confident about Arapuni Milk.’’
With a population of just 300 Arapuni is expected to enjoy a major economic stimulus from the plant with the creation of around 70 jobs if the plant becomes operational.