Seaweed harvest deal promises jobs growth

A Chinese seaweed processing company plans to spend $21 million over three years on a venture in the south-east of South Australia.

Representatives from Gather Great Ocean Group have been in Adelaide to formalise a deal to acquire and expand a seaweed company based at Beachport.

Australian Kelp Products has the only commercial seaweed licence in South Australia and produces liquid kelp fertilisers and dry seaweed products for livestock supplements.

Director Bevan Mills expects the deal to create about 200 jobs in the south-east.

“It’s a huge project, for me personally vindication that the project I started 17 years ago and quickly realising that its a multi-billion-dollar industry to now have the second-largest seaweed company in China come and invest in our company,” he said.

Mr Mills said South Australia would become a key player in an industry worth $2 billion annually in the Asia-Pacific.

“The seaweed industry itself here in South Australia is well you’re looking at it, but in the future it will become more along the lines of what’s already established in other countries around the world, it’s a very sustainable industry all over the globe,” he said.

Australian Kelp Products was founded in 1995 and harvests seaweeds from the beaches of the south-east coast.

Wattle Range Council Mayor Peter Gandolfi said the deal would make Beachport the seaweed-processing capital of Australia.

He said the job creation was much-needed.

“Long-term sustainability in these jobs [is expected] as well because it is processing a natural resource into a product that will be exported worldwide right from Millicent,” he said.

“I think we’ll see long-term jobs out of this. This is not competing like-from-like with other industries, this is actually processing one of our natural resources into high-grade products.”

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