Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has added an export depot near Katherine to its list of recent northern Australian cattle land acquisitions.
The purchase of the Phoenix Park holding on the Katherine River shows clear evidence of building a supply chain, linking Hancock’s recently-purchased Inverway-Riveren breeding and growing properties in the Victoria River District with the primary live export port of Darwin.
Phoenix Park is just 3500ha, but its location off the Stuart Highway suggests it will be used as an all-weather staging-post for company cattle heading northeast from the VRD district properties to the boat trade.
Other large northern pastoral companies like AA Co have made similar supply chain purchases, last year acquiring Pell Airstrip closer to Darwin.
Hancock Prospecting described Phoenix Park, as an export pre‐feeding depot, located just west of Katherine on the Florina Road about 340km from the port of Darwin.
“Phoenix Park builds on our previous investment in the NT, including the recent acquisitions of Riveren and Inverway stations. The enterprise is one of the largest fodder irrigation projects in the Katherine area, including a high-security ground water extraction license of 1981 ML/pa, and 160ha irrigation area of which there are three 40ha centre pivots,” the company said in a statement.
Phoenix Park has had a long history in agricultural production, operating as Rowlands dairy for some years in the 1990s when a series of large Harvestore silage storage towers were erected, and earlier still as a Brahman stud, commercial piggery and irrigated dryland sorghum and hay producing enterprise operated a ‘demonstration farm’ by Northern Meat Exporters, operators of the Katherine meatworks.
Hancock Prospecting chair Gina Rinehart said the purchase was a strategic acquisition for HPPL, delivering the ability to supply cattle throughout the year including during the wet season, allowing the company to reliably supply its markets.
“We will also be contributing to local employment and the business community in Katherine and the Northern Territory, something that is important to me. Having grown up in the north, I would like to make a contribution to the development of Northern Australia,” Ms Rinehart said.
Hancock Prosecting chief executive Garry Korte said the purchase was an integral part of being able to maximise station breeder carrying capacity, enabling the company to maximise sale weights via the supplementary feeding of locally-grown fodder.
“Hancock is interested in investing in areas where we can add value to our existing operations,” he said.
Phoenix Park was advertised for sale recently on Beef Central through Elders Katherine.
“Comprising dryland cropping, timbered grazing on native pastures, irrigated farming land from high yielding groundwater bores, a cattle holding complex registered for 20,000 head, as well as a factory-style building including coolrooms, offices and silos,” the Elders website listing said.
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