A proposed state-of-the-art dairy processing plant in Tokoroa is one step closer to becoming a reality with a lead contractor being appointed.

Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) has appointed GEA New Zealand, alongside First Principles Contractors as a building partner, to construct the plant which will include innovative technology designed to reduce pollution, minimise water and energy use and ensure waste is handled in the most sustainable way possible.

Operations director for OFI in New Zealand, Paul Rennie, says the company is delighted to work with a partner of GEA’s calibre.

“GEA has a proven track record of developing sustainable solutions for sophisticated production processes, which aligns directly with our goal of building a plant that operates as sustainably as possible,” Rennie says.

“The new facility will place Tokoroa at the forefront of advanced dairy product processing and technologies, open up new options for farmers in South Waikato and create career opportunities for local people.

“The project is also expected to involve up to 300 construction workers during peak phases of the build, which we hope will be a boost for the local economy and a catalyst for wider investment in the community.”

The new plant, expected to be commissioned in the third quarter of 2023, will be developed in stages, starting with a spray dryer with a capacity of one million litres of milk per day, capable of producing more than 45,000 tonnes of milk powder annually.

The second phase of construction will see more facilities added to extend the range of high-value dairy ingredients that can be manufactured at the site.