A world-class, advanced wool scouring plant is planned for East Rockingham south of Perth, Commerce and Trade Minister Hendy Cowan and Primary Industry Minister Monty House announced today.
Mr Cowan said Western Australia's sole wool scour operator CIL, together with Standard Wool Australia, had agreed to construct a new $40 million plant to replace long-established facilities at Jandakot.
He said the plant, which was expected to begin operation in 1999, would employ about 150 people and process up to 25,000 tonnes of clean wool per year, with the potential to exceed 30,000 tonnes.
"This efficient, advanced facility will help make WA a more attractive location for further wool processing," Mr Cowan said.
"The Government hopes that the new facilities will be the core of a new wool- processing precinct which will grow to include a top-making facility.
"It is also a major victory for the environment as the existing CIL plant is sited near the Jandakot mound, a major water resource.
"Also, Standard Wool Australia has closed its scouring facility in the Melville area.
"A new waste treatment plant will be built to service the precinct."
Mr Cowan said the WA Government would provide up to $2 million to help compensate the two wool-scouring companies for the cost of the move. It would also provide an interest rate subsidy of $91,500 per year, for up to five years, to assist CIL with high up-front costs associated with transitional arrangements.
The Government would contribute a further $1 million towards the cost of rehabilitating former wool-scouring sites at Jandakot and Melville.
Mr House said the $10.5 million state-of-the-art waste treatment plant to be built by the State Government would recycle all the water used by the new wool-scouring plant and potentially by other wool-processing operations.
"No water will be sent to waste into ponds or into the new sewerage system", he said.
"Wool scouring produces a lot of solid waste - one-third of every bale consists of dirt and wool wax.
"In sludge form, this is a potentially valuable resource, rich in nitrogen and potassium, which would be used in fertilisers and soil conditioners.
"The Government will investigate long-term options for using this material."
Mr House said the project represented a big step forward for the wool industry in WA.
It would provide a medium to long-term processing facility for the benefit of wool growers in WA and also formed a base to attract other stages of processing to the State.
"Additional value adding should help increase prices paid for WA wool," the Minister said.
"It can also mean that growers will receive better information about market requirements and will be able to respond more effectively."
Pictured from left: John Kirkpatrick, Director of Standard Wool; Mr Syd Lodge, Managing Director of Jandakot Wool Scouring Company Pty Ltd; Primary Industry Minister Monty House; Mr Jerome Flipo, Chairman of Compagnie d'Importation de Laines (CIL) and Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan meet prior to the announcement of the new wool scouring facility.
Media contacts: Peter Jackson (Mr Cowan's Office) 9222 9595
Julie Cole (Mr House's Office) 9481 2044