Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd (ASX:KPT) has appointed national forestry services company Harvestco to harvest, store and stockpile a quarter of a million tonnes of pine in the company’s Kangaroo Island estate.
Harvestco has been on-site since December last year, clearing rows of trees alongside powerlines as part of KIPT’s fire prevention efforts in conjunction with SA Power Networks.
The harvest proper is now imminent, with Harvestco to cut pinus radiata – a fast-growing softwood that is the most widely planted pine tree in the world – to be cut to length and sorted according to their future markets as logs, chips or pellets.
KIPT managing director Keith Lamb described Harvestco as an “experienced company with an excellent record”, and its managing director Rick Murphy said he was delighted to win the contract.
“There are some unique challenges in working on an Island and with a fire-damaged resource, but we have many years’ experience across Australia and we’re looking froward to bringing our expertise to the circumstances on Kangaroo Island,” he said.
Harvestco is hiring for a range of roles related to harvesting and a jobs expo featuring representatives from Harvestco, KIPT, Workskil and Adelaide Training and Employment Centre will be held at Kingscote Town Hall on January 24 from 1:30pm.
The devastating 2020 bushfires had an impact on KIPT, with the company estimating this time last year that 90 per cent of its trees were no longer productive for any practical or economic purposes.
However, the new harvest presents renewed hope. The best of the fire-damaged timber will be sent to water storage at KIPT’s Macgill property and placed in the Sheep Creek Dam.
A harvesting trial to determine the optimal recovery from the pine estate is set to begin this week, followed by clearfell harvesting building towards an annual production rate of 200,000 tonnes a year from April.
The harvest of about 4.5 million tonnes of fire-affected timber is expected to take five years, thanks to detailed and rigorous assessment and categorisation of the damaged timber.
- Daniel Paproth