Construction work has commenced on Australian Agricultural Company’s $85 million meat processing facility at Livingstone, 50km south of Darwin.
The company hopes to begin processing its first cattle on the site by late September/early October next year.
Civil works including earthmoving and pouring of concrete is expected to take 10-12 weeks with facility construction and equipment installation scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2013.
In announcing the company’s decision to proceed with the project last month, AACo Chairman Donald McGauchie said the board had determined that the fundamentals around a processing plant in the Northern Territory were compelling, and believed it will secure the long term future of Australia's northern pastoral industry.
"AACo is continuing with its outlined objective of raising third-party equity in the project, and is involved in discussions with a number of potential investors who have expressed interest in the project, although would also have access to internal sources of capital should available third party terms prove unattractive.
"AACo welcomes further engagement with both the federal and state government to pursue staff training opportunities and the development of community assets, including port, roads and regional medical facilities, to advance the critical public infrastructure required to secure optimisation and security of this project."
This plant will be built as a Hot Boning facility with flexibility to incorporate chillers for prime cattle processing when required.
The state-of-the-art processing facility has a design capacity of up to 225,000 head per annum.
It is proposed that the plant will process up to around 200,000 cattle per year once production levels are achieved.
The facility will create 260 direct and a further 530 indirect jobs, including substantial new opportunities for indigenous and female workers in the region.
AACo said the project will inject $126 million a year into the local economy, will be efficient from a carbon emissions standpoint, and improve animal welfare outcomes.
The Livingstone site is approximately 600ha in size, of which approximately 14ha will be occupied by the meat processing facility.
The balance of the site will comprise irrigation zones, natural wetlands, ponds and other areas providing facility and amenity to the site.
The additional land purchased will ensure a sufficient buffer zone between the abattoir and adjoining areas.
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