Dairy fac­tory on track

Plant’s back­ers re­main ‘con­fi­dent’

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By MATHEW GROCOTT

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.

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