Fonterra’s new Lichfield plant opened
Normally a guest list of over 200 would fill a venue but that wasn’t so during the official opening of Fonterra’s multimillion dollar milk powder dryer in the South Waikato.
South Waikato mayor Jenny Shattock, Taupo MP Louise Upston, Raukawa representatives, farmers, Fonterra staff, and others from the community were like a dot in one of the Lichfield based plant’s massive rooms where they gathered on Friday to celebrate its opening.
The new 30 metric tonne an hour dryer, which has cost a staggering 390 million dollars to build, is capable of processing 4.4 million litres of milk a day making it the company’s most efficient dryer to date.
Fonterra chairman John Wilson said while Lichfield is one of Fonterra’s younger sites, over its 21 year history it has become one of the most significant for its ability to meet growing global demand for dairy.
‘‘This new plant will help us to strike a balance in our processing that allows us to switch between products quickly to meet demand changes in global markets, push the pace on production when milk volumes dictate, and ultimately deliver the best product mix to generate returns,’’ he said.
Upston said it was an honour to take part in the opening.
‘‘[This] is one of the most significant businesses in the whole of the Taupo electorate and I can’t think of any other investments to this extent,’’ she said.
‘‘[This] is one of the most significant businesses in the whole of the Taupo electorate.’’
She said the development had resulted in over 70 new jobs.
‘‘[That’s] a really big deal for a district like this,’’ she said.
Shattock said something as significant as the development had not been seen in the district for a long time.
‘‘I look at it now and it is absolutely magnificent,’’ she said.
She acknowledged Fonterra for its foresight in choosing the South Waikato to invest.
‘‘They recognised the importance of dairy farming in our district, they recognised our dairy farmers, and they recognised our central position,’’ she said.
‘‘It is due to the leadership shown by Fonterra investing in our district and recognising our strengths that has actually sparked other industries to follow suit and look to the South Waikato for growth and new developments.’’
The dryer also has a new distribution centre, service and a sophisticated wastewater treatment plant.
The official opening of Fonterra’s new milk powder dryer in Lichfield.
Fonterra’s Lichfield plant.