GrainCorp operations continue despite fire

By Alana Christensen

GrainCorp has moved to reassure farmers following a small fire at its Numurkah canola processing plant, stating it is unlikely to have an effect on the plant’s processing as harvest time approaches.

A smoulder was detected in one of the processing plant’s grain silos at the McDonald St site about 4pm on Wednesday, with emergency authorities attending the scene.

Fire crews remained on the scene until 2am, at which point the smoulder in the silo, which contained canola meal, was successfully extinguished.

Despite the disruption, a GrainCorp spokesperson remained confident that it would be business as usual at the plant.

‘‘We expect very little impact on our operations,’’ the spokesperson said.

A number of CFA members and the Hazardous Material Response Unit were back at the plant the following morning monitoring the scene.

CFA operations officer Rohan Taylor said questions remained following the fire.

‘‘We’re not sure what has caused it, GrainCorp will have to investigate the processes that led to it,’’ he said.

‘‘There certainly was a risk early on, but fire crews worked well together and were able to control it very early on. The fire crews worked extremely well overnight.’’

Mr Taylor confirmed that WorkSafe Victoria had attended the scene and completed an inspection.

As a precaution canola meal had been slowly released from the silo, which has a capacity of 800tonnes.

The plant is currently undergoing a $50million expansion to increase its processing capacity and see an additional 22 semi-trailer loads pass through the plant each day.

The works will increase the capacity of the site from about 730 metric tonnes of processing a day to 1000 metric tonnes.

Dubbed Project Force, the latest investment is the second in as many years at the McDonald St plant, following the $38million Project Delta completed in 2016.