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Minister opens Rotorua Pellet Mill

7 December 2005

Associate Environment Minister opens Rotorua Pellet Mill

The Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Associate Minister for the Environment, has today officially opened biomass producer Nature’s Flame’s first North Island pellet mill, in Rotorua.

Nature’s Flame, which produces and sells pellet fuel for burning in clean-air approved wood pellet fireplaces, has opened the Rotorua mill to meet increasing demand in New Zealand for cost-effective, environmentally friendly home heating.

Since 2003 Nature’s Flame has experienced substantial growth. Joining Nature’s Flame’s existing Rolleston mill near Christchurch, the new mill will add to Nature’s Flame’s growth and provide up to 15 new jobs in the Rotorua area, both at the plant and in sales and installation.

Nature’s Flame Managing Director, Andy Matheson says that the opening of the Rotorua mill is a significant milestone for Nature’s Flame.

“We are looking to build on our success by expanding into the North Island home heating market. Nature’s Flame is one of the most environmentally sustainable home heating solutions available and we are committed to providing a renewable, clean, cost-effective home heating solution for all New Zealanders,” he says.

Clean-air approved

Solid Energy, New Zealand’s largest coal producer purchased Nature’s Flame in 2003 to offer home-owners a renewable, clean burning home heating alternative. Solid Energy recognises that burning solid fuels (wood and coal) on open fires and older household burners causes air quality problems in many of our towns and cities. Nature’s Flame wood pellet fires have very low emissions, making them ideal for urban use.

Nature’s Flame wood pellets are produced from waste pine-wood and sawdust. At the Nature’s Flame mill the waste wood by-product is dried, compressed and formed into small pellets, which burn virtually emission free. Because of the strict pellet manufacturing process used by Nature’s Flame, the pellets are totally organic and contain no plastics or harmful additives.

Production

The new mill will have an initial annual production capacity of 50,000 tonnes, enough low emissions energy to heat up to 36,000 homes.

“Together with the Nature’s Flame pellet mill in Christchurch, the Rotorua mill will sustain the increased demand for pellet fuel well into the future,” says Matheson. “Our Christchurch mill has been operating for three years and has doubled its production each year to meet demand. The Rotorua factory gives Nature’s Flame the capacity to increase production further with an expansion plan in place to produce 100,000 tonnes a year. Pellets are here to stay.”

Economical

Widely used overseas, wood pellets have become a popular choice for New Zealand homeowners with gas and electricity price hikes.

“Following the demise of the giant Maui gas field there is greater pressure on New Zealand’s natural gas supply which is leading to higher prices for gas buyers. In addition, electricity generation capacity is under pressure, especially in dry years, driving power prices to record levels,” says Matheson.

“With the opening of the new Rotorua mill Nature’s Flame can promise its North and South Island customers security of supply which will help maintain Nature’s Flame as a cost effective and economical home heating solution for many years to come.”

ENDS

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