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Mill re-opens the doors to a brighter future

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Upgraded operations are well underway at Whakatane Mill Limited’s (WML) paperboard mill following the businesses official grand re-opening celebrated back in March. The initial months of the year were spent installing new state-of-the-art machinery, as well as upgrading its facilities, and since its re-opening WML is now fully equipped to service its local and global customer chain with premium quality board products.

Customers from across the globe attended the in-person event alongside numerous local and government officials, such as Minister of Manufacturing and Small Business, Andrew Bayly and Local MP Dana Kirkpatrick.

Representing more than mere upgrades to facilities, over NZD$100m worth of private funding has been poured into the business, ensuring the growth and prosperity of both the mill and the local Whakatane community for years to come.

On the day of the grand re-opening, guests were invited to take a tour through the mill to view the new machinery upgrades which will enable WML to produce an additional 50,000 tonnes of premium folding box boards, along with improved environmental and energy systems to further embed the business’ long-term success. The upgrade seeks to increase WML’s total production capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes of premium folding box board in the future. WML is the only folding box board producer in the Australian/New Zealand geography.

The grand re-opening event is a stark contrast to the uncertain future that the business faced only three years ago where an unfortunate closure was looming over WML. Since acquiring the business, the new owners have invested significantly in the mill’s capabilities, committing to its successful future and the continued prosperity of Whakatane’s local economy.

Executive Chairman of Whakatane Mill Limited Ian Halliday, conveyed the immense pride he had in re-opening the business, setting its course for a fruitful future. “Looking back to when we first acquired the mill, and to where the business is at now, it’s incredibly fulfilling. We have invested heavily in upgrading the business as we always believed in its potential, and to see it now come to fruition is truly rewarding. As the largest private employer in Whakatane, with 80 years of exporting history, we are proud to see the mill step forth into its next evolution.

“We want to thank our team, commercial partners and local contractors who helped with the upgrade, along with our customers who continue to partner with us. We remain committed to further advancements, ensuring a bright future for our business and community alike.”

Related | Paper: The future is bright at the Whakatane Mill
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