$90m Tarpeena mill upgrade on track

A new, world-class saw line that incorporates artificial intelligence and robotics to minimise wastage is expected to open at the end of the year. The $90m modernisation project at Timberlink’s Tarpeena softwood manufacturing facility is expected to run 120 metres of log per minute, which will prioritise domestic industry before export.

“It’s a great time to be producing more timber to build Australian homes,” Timberlink sales, marketing and corporate affairs executive general manager David Oliver said. “We supply very, very little volume to export from the Tarpeena facility and we have a current policy that we support our domestic customers before any export. Generally, export only occurs when the local market is slower and the lower grade timbers are not in demand.”

According to Mr Oliver, the mill is expected to operate at peak production levels by October 2021. It comes as Timberlink welcomed Assistant Forestry and Fisheries Minister Jonathan Duniam and Member for Barker Tony Pasin to tour the new saw line being commissioned in Tarpeena. “The investment in this plant in the town of Tarpeena is a generational investment and will create ongoing high skilled jobs for our community,” Mr Pasin said.

Described as “world-class”, the sawmill uses the latest technology in timber manufacturing, with electronic scanning and a saw system that moves to align with the shape of the log to cut straight timber from bent logs. “This investment is impressive in both the technology used and its size and scale,” Senator Duniam said. “It is impressive to see Timberlink investing in these advancements at a time when Australian needs a greater supply of timber.”

Timberlink will continue to invest in manufacturing assets in Tarpeena, after recently announcing a further investment of $60m in the construction of a cross laminated and glue laminated production facility. According to Timberlink the manufacturing facility will open in 2023 and work is under way.

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