July 17, 2014
Work began yesterday on a $2.5 million upgrade at Proteco in Kingaroy which will see the creation of a specialist edible oil refinery, the only one of its kind in Australia.
Proteco Gold owner Josh Gadischke said the refinery would complement Proteco’s existing cold press oil business and lead to new jobs at the plant in William Street.
Proteco currently produces unrefined edible oils for the domestic and export markets.
Josh said the new refinery – the only edible oil refinery in Queensland – would allow the company to access new markets where the demand is for a refined oil, particularly China which has tight import restrictions.
Not only do refined oils have a greater consistency, they are also better suited for use in cosmetics.
Proteco produces almond, avocado, olive, apricot kernel, macadamia, peanut, pumpkin seed, sunflower, walnut, safflower, sesame, flaxseed and cod liver oils.
Demand is strong and the current oil mill is currently running 24 hours.
Josh said there were other edible oil refineries in Australia but they concentrated on producing bulk canola and safflower oils for the margarine industry.
Proteco’s new refinery will be able to process several thousand tonnes of speciality oils every year.
It will also have organic certification to allow it to produce organic safflower oil.
Josh said he hoped to have the refinery commissioned in early 2016.
“Fifty per cent of the spend will be local and 50 per cent from overseas; we will have to import some specialist equipment,” he said.
The project has been three years in the planning.
“The refinery will be a highly automated process but will still add five or six operational roles, not including the construction phase,” he said.
“It will also be a very quiet operation and will emit almost no noise.”
There is also almost no waste from the process as the residue will be sold as either soapstock or stockfeed.
Josh said the refinery would position Proteco more strongly into the future against competitors “overseas, not necessarily in Australia”.
It would also provide a competitive advantage to Proteco’s agricultural supply base.
“It will complement the existing synergies of our current operation. The health food business will not change,” he said