$24 million cotton processing plant in pipeline

THE plan to build a new $24 million cotton gin just south of Carrathool is expected to be a boon for the region.

The gin’s development application has been lodged with the Murrumbidgee Shire Council, with mayor Phillip Wells describing it as good news.

“A development like this is very positive for our shire and farmers and also the job prospects that come along with it,” he said.

“The DA is on public display now for 28 days then after that I believe they are looking to fast track the development so they can have it up and running to facilitate the cotton crop in 2015.”

 The gin will be built just south of Carrathool on the Sturt Highway, with 59 farmers joining forces to invest in the project.

Rivcott CEO Sam Buster, originally from Bourke, has moved to Griffith to set up and run the gin.

“Initially eight growers approached me in Bourke in July last year to see if I’d help build a cotton gin because this area is growing so rapidly and more than half of the cotton is being shipped out,” he said.

 “From September through to December we visited 80 growers and 59 of them decided to join us.

“It means they are committed to supplying cotton and are share holders.”

 Mr Buster said the gin would mean higher profits for the growers.

“From a growers point of view I estimate they will get somewhere between $200 to $400 per hectare more than what they received before because of things like lower ginning fees plus rebates,” he said.

“Initially it will handle 60 bales per hour or 1000 bales per day, with the capability to do 100 bales per hour and 2000 bales per day.

“We will employ about 30 people. Ten to 12 of those will be fulltime and the rest casual throughout the four or five month ginning season.

 “Hopefully we can break ground in May as soon as we have DA approval.”

Mr Buster said if the proposal is approved, the co-operative hopes to be ready for ginning in April next year.

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