17 May 2018
Plantation Hardwood and Engineered Timber Production Facility
It is with great pleasure that following an extensive process The Hermal Group can today announce
that we have secured an appropriate site for our new Cross Laminated Sustainable
Hardwood Plantation (CLTP) timber production facility.
We are particularly delighted at the opportunity to add value to this Tasmanian source of plantation
timber through a new and innovative process. The company will produce engineered timber
products and building solutions.
We have secured a site totalling approximately 80 hectares on the southern corner of Ridgley
Highway and Neena Road in Hampshire. We thank the vendors for their professionalism in dealing
with us on the procurement of the site.
We have taken an option deed over the site with the final purchase being subject to the successful
approval of the Development Application (DA).
With a future intake of 300,000 m3 this will be Australia’s largest eucalyptus nitens hardwood
plantation timber facility producing engineered timber products. The site we have procured affords
us the opportunity to create a dedicated state-of-the-art facility with no constraints.
This will be the world’s first planation based E.nitens hardwood facility that will produce kiln dried
CLTP structural timber products and as such we decided in the end to choose a greenfields site, with
no legacies from the past.
In considering the location of the facility we needed to balance the proximity to the resource,
logistics requirements and a need for future expansion.
We will now need to commence an expansive approvals process commencing with the DA process
which will involve dealings with the local council, essential services providers, namely power, roads
and the EPA. We will approach this process in an open and transparent manner.
We will be using TRACT planning consultants to manage the DA process for us. We have met with
local land surveyors and expect to begin the process of attaining all necessary inputs for our
application in coming days.
The Burnie City Council has been very helpful to date, but we also know that they will be assessing
our application on its merits. As part of this process, we will be holding a community information
night for the residents of Hampshire and surrounds on the third weekend in June, specifically to
discuss some of our considerations around the site, site layout and to seek their input.
We will also be hosting a broader project information evening in Burnie in July.
To give some perspective in terms of the site, our preliminary planning has some 10,000 square
meters or around a hectare of area under roof that we will need to build on the site.
Significant work has already begun in terms of the project design and product development. We
have been, and will continue to, work very closely with the University of Tasmania’s Sustainability in
Architecture and Design Department.
Hermal has been successful in appointing two highly respected and capable people to the positions
of CEO, CLTP Burnie and as CEO, Solarwood International. Mr Chris Skeels-Piggins will head up CLTP
Burnie and will be based in Burnie. CLTP Burnie will be responsible for the sourcing and
manufacture of engineered timber products and solutions. Chris will reside locally he will begin in
his role on 4th June.
Products and building solutions will be delivered to market under our Solarwood International brand
and Vince Erasmus has been appointed CEO of Solarwood. Vince has already begun work and has
already developed a close working relationship with UTas as part of product development.
Key to our values, we will only produce high quality engineered timber products sourced from FSC
accredited or equivalent plantation hardwoods. To be clear on timber supply, not so much as a
match stick of anything other than fully FSC certified sustainable plantation timber will be processed
through this new mill.
The native timber industry creates very different products to us and they do this from a very
different and very much older timber resource. Our CLTP products utilise a new and innovative
process for hardwood timber which enables us to turn juvenile plantation timbers into a very strong
structural product or rather system of products and it has been our choice to only process FSC
certified timber in this process. Furniture and appearance grade products are out of our reach due
to the vast difference between what you can do with a 20 year old tree and a 50 year or older tree.
We have already formed a close working relationship with Forico, who are our preferred suppliers of
FSC Eucalyptus Nitens logs and we will work with them in the coming weeks and months to
formalise commercial agreements.
It is important to note that we will be in a position to seek supply from other plantation timber
producers here in Tasmania as well, however all supplies must be FSC certified.
The CLTP Burnie facility represents a $190m investment and we expect it to generate over 200 new
jobs upon completion and approximately 160 jobs during the construction phase. We expect
construction will take in the realm of 12 to 18 months.
We have begun preliminary discussions with local Tasmanian employment agencies, job active,
workforce providers and training organisations to discuss some of our workforce needs.
We are compiling a database through our start.ag website for interested parties considering future
employment at the company and those service providers and companies interested in participating
in the construction phase.
CLTP Burnie has established an office in Burnie at 29A Wilson Street. This will be the base of
operations until we are in a position to establish a site office at Hampshire. In addition to the
website, email and telephone, inquiries can also be made at our Burnie office.
We wish to thank Coordinator-General, John Perry and his staff for their continued effort and their
respect of the necessary commercial imperatives of this project. We also offer our thanks to
Premier, Will Hodgman and Minister, Guy Barnett for their no-nonsense approach and support for
As an equal opportunity employer, we believe that nothing is worth doing if it cannot be done safely
and our purpose-built state-of-the-art facility, together with our stringent policies and procedures,
will provide a culture of health, safety and wellbeing for all.
We are a community and people driven organisation.
Quotes attributable to James Lantry, Senior Manager Special Projects, The Hermal Group:
“We believe we have secured an outstanding site in Hampshire Tasmania for this world class facility.
“This site allows us to build it new and build it properly from the start. It will also enable us to build it
with the least impact on neighbouring properties.
“We have been welcomed to Burnie with warmth and as they have done the right thing by us we will
“Our CLTP Burnie facility will source only FSC plantation hardwood timber.”
“We are looking forward to working through the DA approval process and this will be the critical
determinant of the timeline for construction and inevitably the opening of the mill.
“The DA process could take 6 months or 12 months or 18 months or longer. We will work as fast as
we can to support this process as it is our desire to be in production in 2019. We expect construction
will take in the realm of 12 to 18 months.
“Projects of this size are extremely sensitive to sovereign risk and require long term commitments.
“We are pleased to be making this investment and appreciate the support we have received from the
government, the opposition and the greens as well as Tasmanians.
“It is fair to say that this project is only happening because of the recognition of the long
term needs by the Tasmanian Government’s Coordinator-General John Perry and the subsequent
support from the Tasmanian Government and in particular Premier Hodgman and Minister Barnett.
“Plantation E.nitens, or shining gum is a beautiful timber and we can’t wait to get our planation kiln
dried CLTP products into the market.
“We are so pleased to have been able to secure Chris Skeels-Piggins as or CLTP Burnie CEO and he
brings significant history and skills to this project.
“We will continue to update the people in Burnie, Tasmanians generally and the market of our
progress and timelines as these become clearer through the DA process.
“We are a community and people driven organisation.
For further information contact James Lantry on 0488 173 222
Short Bio Chris Skeels-Piggins
With a career spanning over 25 years with Hyne Timber, and more recently with Auswest,
Chris is ahighly experienced professional with exceptional experience in running large manufacturing
(sawmilling) operations with a strong track record of success. With a hands-on approach to
management and leadership and a deep commitment to the timber industry, Chris has built
exceptional relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, across many states
Chris will be relocating to Tasmania to head up CLTP Burnie on the 4th of June.
Short Bio Vince Erasmus
A respected business leader in the forest products industry with extensive experience in managing
large and complex organisations. He has extensive knowledge of the Australian and international
timber industry, including the management of sustainable plantations and has a wide exposure to
solid wood conversion facilities, ranging from saw milling to veneer production and plywood. Since
emigrating from South Africa Vince was the Managing Director of Elders Forestry and more recently
the General Manager of the Forest Products Commission in WA