$72 million meatworks plan lodged

SITE: Development board member Lindsay Crouch, left, and developer Reg Smythe look confident at the site at the Gladstone turn-off from Augusta Highway near Warnertown.
SITE: Development board member Lindsay Crouch, left, and developer Reg Smythe look confident at the site at the Gladstone turn-off from Augusta Highway near Warnertown.

As many as 600 jobs could ultimately be created in Port Pirie's 'prime cut' project - a $72 million meatworks.

With the approval process having begun, the developer of the Pirie Meats abattoir spoke of 215 positions on the killing floor and about 200 in construction.

But that is for a single-shift at the meatworks and the number of jobs at the site could double if a second shift is introduced later.

Port Pirie Regional Council is expected to approve a new development application lodged last week for the project and the proposal will next face judgement from the state government's planning department.

The meatworks proposal is the result of a three-year-plus journey for developer Reg Smythe and his team. It will slaughter about 3000 cattle and 300 sheep daily and possibly goats and camels.

Mr Smythe said customers would mostly supply livestock to be processed and would be charged for this.

Giving an indication of the size of the venture, he said: "We will process 70,000 head of livestock yearly and 750,000 to one million small stock." Exports are expected to go to the Middle East, Asia, China, North America and possibly Europe. Halal slaughtering methods will be used for Muslim markets.

"Adelaide has direct routes to these countries by ship," he said.

"While we have a drought now ... we are building this for the future.

"It will take time to build up. It will be 18 months before we get to a full shift.

"People will move their livestock many, many kilometres to access a facility like Port Pirie's."

Mr Smythe hopes to hire local workers for the jobs and a neighbouring feedlot is likely to operate at Warnertown.

Mayor Leon Stephens said it would be an understatement to say he was "excited" by the proposal. "It is special ... a game-changer," he said.

The boost to the economy from the development is estimated at about $7 million yearly.

"I am 1000 per cent confident going forward," Mr Stephens said. Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North board member Lindsay Crouch said the benefits to the region would be "immense".

First worker: P2

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