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Kangaroo Island, Australia to build biomass pellet mill

Image: Rob Heathcote and Keith Lamb take samples for moisture in fire-damaged timber
Image: Rob Heathcote and Keith Lamb take samples for moisture in fire-damaged timber
A biomass pellet mill facility will be built on Australia’s Kangaroo Island, thanks to a $5.5 million (€3.4 million) bushfire recovery grant.

Over the past 12 months, Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has worked to secure diversified markets for dry product – logs produced from forests that have been damaged by bushfire, beyond the tolerance of traditional market exports.

KIPT has been advised by Senator Jonathan Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, that its application to the Forestry Recovery Development Fund has been successful.

The plant would be the company’s timber processing hub at Timber Creek, a site which was damaged by the fires of summer 2020. The pellets would be exported using the chip-handling facility at the proposed Kangaroo Island Seaport at Smith Bay.

Benefits for Kangaroo Island would include a small-scale biomass power plant to support the pellet mill, which is capable of dispatching base-load power to the electricity grid. The use of carbon-neutral electricity would support the island’s brand values as a tourist destination and provider of high-quality agricultural produce.

“On the first anniversary of the tragic Kangaroo Island fires, I commend the Commonwealth Government and Assistant Minister Duniam on their vision and foresight in supporting this exciting project proposal,” said Keith Lamb, KIPT managing director.

“Although I am confident that lessons learned from the wildfire will reduce the risk of conflagrations of the extent and intensity we saw last summer, the proposed pellet and power project would provide a market outlet for all plantation growers on Kangaroo Island who might experience fire damage in the future. This rebuilds confidence for the sector and the island economy.”

Due diligence work on the pellet proposal continues with KIPT’s project partners and the firm aims to have internal approval for the project in the first half of 2021.
Image: Rob Heathcote and Keith Lamb take samples for moisture in fire-damaged timber