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City Forest expands timber processing plant

City Forest expands timber processing plant

A new kiln installed for drying timber will allow at City Forest Ltd’s Milburn timber processing plant to boost production by over a third.

City Forests has officially opened its third kiln at the Milburn plant, marking the completion of stage two of its expansion plan.

City Forests CEO Grant Dodson explained that while timber milling and processing is a difficult business in the current economic recession, the development represents an investment in the future. “By investing in our business in a recession, our aim is to be ready to take advantage of the upturn that is now showing signs of occurring.”

The kiln and associated works has been a $1.5 million capital spend for City Forests over the last six months.

City Forests aims to increase log intake volume from 28,000 cubic metres a year to 40,000, representing an export of 20,000 cubic metres of appearance grade timber each year.

“This represents a significant investment for us, but one that shows confidence in our industry, and in the long-term global need for wood products,” Mr Dodson said.

The expansion has created a further eight jobs for the 31-strong plant as it gears up for the increased production.

The majority of the wood supply for the plant is pruned logs harvested from City Forests plantations around Dunedin, and milled by Gorton Timber at Milton, which has also expanded alongside the City Forest redevelopment. Gortons has invested in a new horizontal resaw and site improvement works.

The three City Forest’s kilns are used to dry the milled green timber, which is then processed into clearwood and appearance grade lumber at the Milburn plant, for use primarily in furniture manufacture in markets across the United States, Spain, Asia and Australia as well as New Zealand.

The kiln, which cost around $500,000, is already in operation, and was built by kiln experts Fogarty Industries from Invercargill.


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