A Chinese company plans to invest US$250 million to build a massive wood-processing plant in New Zealand. Fenglin Wood Industry Group, based in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has already been carrying out a feasibility study on building and operating a highly advanced sawmill in the central North Island, Xinhua news agency reported. The plant will be built in New Zealand's Taupo region, considered the "wood basket" of New Zealand.
"The estimates are around 250 jobs and a 250-million-U.S.- dollar investment to build the plant using world class state of the art technology," said Fritz Frohlke, general manager of the Enterprise Great Lake Taupo development agency, as quoted by Xinhua.
Enterprise Great Lake Taupo had for two years been seeking a commercial stakeholder to undertake an in-depth feasibility study to construct and operate a world class sawmill, producing laminated veneer lumber and medium density fibreboard, in Taupo, Frohlke said in a statement.
The Chinese company's feasibility study was due to be completed by early 2016.
As Xinhua reports, Fenglin Group chairman Cui Jianguo said the project would be "a true win-win deal for both New Zealand and China"
"New Zealand wins as we would process these logs onshore here rather than in China. This would add more value to the product before it is shipped, generating more money into the local economy and creating jobs," Cui said in the statement.
"China wins as we will have a higher quality product as radiata pine is far superior to the eucalyptus that we currently process," he said.
New Zealand's unprocessed log exports have become a major issue in the country, as many domestic sawmills have closed. At the moment, the country unprocessed logs accounted for almost 46 percent of all New Zealand forestry exports, with China taking 70 percent of log exports.