Eden chipmill loads up with new pallet manufacturing plan

 A birds eye view of the Eden chip mill: Soon have the addition of a saw mill, briquette factory and a pallet mill,
A birds eye view of the Eden chip mill: Soon have the addition of a saw mill, briquette factory and a pallet mill,

Allied Natural Wood Exports Pentarch is set to lodge plans for a pallet mill to be constructed at the company's Edrom Road site, to make use of "low grade recovered timber".

ANWE general manager Kel Henry confirmed after recent discussions with to Bega Valley Shire Council and the Environmental Protection Agency that a development application was currently being prepared to be lodged in December.

Late last year, 20-year wood supply agreements for the Eden Management Area expired and it was confirmed a new wood supply contract with a quota of 25,000 cubic metre of hardwood per year from the area was awarded to ANWE.

The decision was made after Forestry Corporation NSW decided ANWE's plans to build a $20million timber optimisation hub was the preferred method to continue processing Eden's changing timber resource.

Speaking with ACM , Mr Henry said along with the addition of a new saw mill and briquette factory, the pallet mill has become part of the company's plan.

He said pallets would be made from low grade recovered timber.

"Using recovered timber is a better way to use timber that would normally go to the chipper," he said.

He also confirmed the new saw mill was currently in transit from Sweden and was expected to arrive in a couple of months' time.

The new mill will be capable of processing saw logs that Mr Henry said are far too small for larger sawmills such as Blue Ridge Hardwoods.

"Any high quality saw logs that are beyond ANWE's capabilities will be offered on to other mills including Blue Ridge Hardwoods in Eden," Mr Henry stated.

However the future of Blue Ridge Hardwoods continues to be in doubt.

BRH managing director Allan Richards told ACM that an offer of saw logs needs to substantial and on a regular basis for business to remain viable.

"Occasional supplies of unknown and limited quantities is a recipe for going broke," he said.

"I believe the Eden community would have much preferred that Blue Ridge stay open and process the high quality saw logs into flooring, cladding and decking and that the pallet mill utilise the low quality log product as pallet mills normally do."

Mr Henry confirmed that ANWE does not have any intention of creating any type of hardwood products that BRH currently manufactures.

Disappointed: Blue Ridge Hardwoods Managing Director Allan Richards. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

Disappointed: Blue Ridge Hardwoods Managing Director Allan Richards. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

BRH continues to express its disappointment over the FCNSW decision to award the contract to ANWE.

"The government has awarded a contract of 'high quality' saw logs to a company that is going to produce low value products, which is called a pallet," Mr Richards said.

"Over the last year Blue Ridge has produced and sold about $16million of value-added product on to the Australian market.

"We are extremely disappointed as to how things have turned out and believe that the Eden community has been 'knee-capped' again, when it comes to natural resource decisions made by government."

ANWE's pallet mill is proposed to be functioning 12 months after the new sawmill and briquette factories' completion, which is proposed for November 2020.