Giant jigsaw takes shape

By Country News

Fonterra’s Stanhope cheese plant reached another key milestone in its expansion this month, with the arrival of new cheesemaking equipment.

Growing for the second time in two years, the $125million expansion of the Midland Hwy facility is set to see its capacity almost double, with more than 80000 metric tonnes of cheese to be produced by the plant each year.

A team of nearly 200 contractors worked to install the three new milk silos ahead of the arrival of several more big vessels for whey processing. Cheesemaking vats and a cheddaring machine have also been installed.

Fonterra Stanhope site manager Jason Wright said the expansion was like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with teams working on more than 20 different project fronts across the site.

‘‘A lot of work has gone into getting us to this stage, with our contractors already clocking over 30000-man hours on this expansion and we’re just over the halfway mark,’’ Mr Wright said.

‘‘They’re pulling out all the stops to get us up and running, and this is a real testament to the team.’’

The works are expected to be completed early next year.