• Opal's new manufacturing site at Wodonga: (L-R) Chris Daly, Opal Executive General Manager – Packaging carries the spade, pictured here with Matt Iizuka, Opal CEO (left), and Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton (right). Image: Opal Group
    Opal's new manufacturing site at Wodonga: (L-R) Chris Daly, Opal Executive General Manager – Packaging carries the spade, pictured here with Matt Iizuka, Opal CEO (left), and Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton (right). Image: Opal Group
  • Sustainability will play a key role in the design of the new facility.  Image: Opal Group
    Sustainability will play a key role in the design of the new facility. Image: Opal Group
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Opal Group, one of ANZ’s largest paper and fibre packaging manufacturers, is making a major investment to construct a high speed manufacturing facility for cardboard packaging in regional Victoria.

The new facility is a strategic investment by parent company Nippon Paper Group, enabling Opal to meet increasing market demand for corrugated cardboard packaging. The total $140 million investment includes the cost of the land, facility construction, and the technology and equipment – a mix of locally and internationally sourced kit that will fit out the plant.

Turning the sod on the $140m greenfield investment: (L-R) Chris Daly, Opal Executive General Manager – Packaging, Matt Iizuka, Opal CEO, and Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton. Image: Opal Group
Turning the sod on the $140m greenfield investment: (L-R) Chris Daly, Opal Executive General Manager – Packaging, Matt Iizuka, Opal CEO, and Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton. Image: Opal Group

Present at the sod-turning ceremony at the greenfield site, Opal CEO Matt Iizuka said this is a significant investment Opal is making in modern manufacturing in regional Victoria.

“Opal operates a fully integrated value chain in sustainable fibre packaging. The new facility will allow us to supply growing markets and better serve the developing needs of our customers,” he said.

Opal executive GM – Packaging, Chris Daly, told PKN that Opal wanted to establish a regional presence to complement its existing infrastructure in key national centres. 

"As a major manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, Opal is committed to driving growth in sustainable packaging and this is an opportunity for the fibre division to lead this change," Daly said.

He said a project of this scale was "a feather in the cap" of the Opal Executive Board and Nippon Paper Group.

"It bodes well for the future of the organisation and for onshoring manufacturing in Australia. On a personal level, I'm very excited to lead the packaging division in this next growth phase," Daly said.

The project will be undertaken in two stages. Stage One of the facility development involves the construction of a highly automated, sophisticated 47,000m2 manufacturing site, located at the Logic Wodonga industrial estate at Barnawartha. Stage Two will see the extension of the facility’s supply capacity to meet growth in demand, through emerging technologies.

The planned facility will create 432 direct and flow-on jobs in Victoria. Image: Opal Group
The planned facility will create 432 direct and flow-on jobs in Victoria. Image: Opal Group

Daly said sustainability will play a key role in the design of the facility via solar energy generation and water harvesting capability.

"The new plant will  feature enhanced supply chain capabilities and advanced manufacturing, and will align with Opal’s circular economy approach through the local production of recycled and recyclable fibre packaging."

Daly said expectations are that once the plant is fully operational, volume capacity will be north of 160 million square meters of cardboard per annum.

During the peak year of Stage One construction, the project is expected to support up to 195 Victorian jobs. Once operational, the new Stage One facility is expected to support 432 Victorian jobs including direct and flow-on, with Daly confirming that direct jobs will number 76. The Victorian government is providing support to secure job opportunities for regional Victoria.

CEO Iizuka said, “We appreciate the Victorian Government’s role in providing support to help make this important regional project into a reality.”

Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton welcomed the announcement, describing the Opal facility as a key part of the ongoing growth of investment and jobs at Logic.

“Wodonga is open for business and at Logic we have enormous potential to develop business and industry that will reach local, national and global market places quickly, conveniently and efficiently,” he said.

“Opal is also a great fit for Wodonga as a leading recycling community, and as a large employer making the most of our logistical, industrial and lifestyle benefits offered by Logic, Opal is a highly valued member of our growing business sector.”

Stage One construction is expected to commence in August 2022, with plans for the installation and commissioning phase to be completed by the third quarter of 2023.

 

 

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