THE KIMBERLEY Cotton Company (KCC) is preparing to commence construction on a multi-user cotton gin in Kununurra, Western Australia following the completion of the final capital-raising milestone.
Shareholder capital raising, plus funding of $34 million provided by the Australian Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has been achieved to complete the finance required for this significant and long-awaited project.
The Kimberley Cotton Gin project is supported by key shareholders Kimberley Agricultural Investment Pty Ltd, Prime Grain Pty Ltd and ASX-listed Namoi Cotton Limited, as well as Ord River District Cooperative Ltd (ORDCO), MG Corporation and local family growers in the Ord Valley region.
KCC will now begin placing orders for key ginning equipment and begin civil works on site once the necessary approvals have been attained.
The project is expected to be completed in time for the commencement of the picking season in mid-2025 with exports of Ord cotton commencing thereafter.
The gin has been designed to allow for further expansion with an initial processing capacity of up to 100,000 bales per year.
KCC chair Gabi Bloecker said the announcement brings the gin another crucial step closer.
“Securing investment from Shareholders and reaching contractual close with NAIF has been an important step which will now enable us to proceed with the construction process,” Dr Bloecker said.
“A local cotton gin brings diversity to the region and will have generational economic benefits for the region.”
“I would like to thank the shareholders and NAIF for their support which has been instrumental in KCC achieving this milestone, as well as the ongoing support from Department of Primary Industries & Research Development (DPIRD).”
The project is forecast to deliver at least $250M of direct public benefit to the region and facilitate a longstanding cotton industry in the Ord Valley, creating approximately 30 jobs during construction and around 43 ongoing local jobs when operational, as well as many indirect business and employment opportunities.
Cotton grower Kimberley Agriculture Investment Pty Ltd spokesperson Jim Engelke said this is the first step in growing the Ord cotton industry and adjacent agriculture and logistics businesses.
“The investment in the cotton gin is the first step in the establishment of a significant industry within the region,” Mr Engelke said.
“The cotton industry offer integration with other long-established industry such as the cattle business.
“The initial investment is significant, however, only the beginning of the development and investment within the region.
“The indirect business activity and employment from the initial investment is in the region of 200 plus jobs in fields including freight, port and logistics, cattle feeding and husbandry, mechanical and support services.
“There will be the need to invest in enabling logistics, export facilities and the incremental increase in cattle management in the region.
“Many of these jobs will be suitable for locally based employees.”
The Kimberley gin will also have a clean-energy focus by utilising hydro-electric power generated at Lake Argyle.
This substantially reduces the carbon footprint of the ginning process when compared to the majority of Australian gins powered by electricity generated from gas, coal or diesel.
By using the Ord hydro power, the gin will supply cotton lint to the market that is produced using renewable energy.