Proposed Huon Valley woodchip facility could breathe new life into struggling forestry industry

7 December 2017

The construction of a A$42m (US$32m) export facility for woodchip processing in the Huon Valley, Tasmania will support 145 ongoing jobs and breathe new life into the struggling forestry industry in the South, proponents say.

Southwood Fibre, which already has a sawmill and processing facility in the region, has submitted a development application to the Huon Valley Council for the private proposal it says could generate A$55m (US$42m) each year in economic stimulus.

Under the proposal — which will take up to two years to build should the council approve it — certified plantation forests in the area will be processed at the existing Southwood facility for transport on a logging road to a single-use loading facility at Strathblane, just south of Dover, for direct export.

Only product certified to Australian Forestry Standards and/or Forest Stewardship Council requirements will be exported from the facility.

Ever since former forestry powerhouse Gunns sold the Triabunna mill for A$10m (US$7.6m) in 2011, southern Tasmania has been without a wood export facility, with products freighted to Bell Bay in the North to be shipped.