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Bundaberg's macadmia industry’s cracking on

BIG PLANS: Consolidated Nuts (Aust) general manager Shane Johnson stands in the cracking room at the Pacific Gold Macadamias factory.
BIG PLANS: Consolidated Nuts (Aust) general manager Shane Johnson stands in the cracking room at the Pacific Gold Macadamias factory. Zach Hogg BUNNUT

WITH the Bundaberg region closing in on the title of Australia's biggest macadamia producer, the processing side of the operation is responding to the growth.

Pacific Gold Macadamias has recently moved into a bigger factory and more expansion plans are under way.

General manager Shane Johnson said the plant was the biggest in Queensland and the second-biggest in Australia.

"Probably in the next couple of years we will do an expansion of our storage area," he said.

Mr Johnson said Bundaberg was not the biggest macadamia-producing region in Australia yet, but it was getting very close.

The majority of the nuts Pacific Gold processes are sourced from more than 2000ha of orchards growing in the Bundaberg region, and they are sold to customers all over the world.

Mr Johnson said the plant expected to process about 6000 tonnes of nuts this season.

The plant's drying room can accommodate up to 700 tonnes of nut in shell and contains 16 high-tech drying bins.

Drying is highly automated, with electronic sensors and controls to ensure the quality of the kernel is maintained throughout the drying process.

The dryers are also highly energy efficient and use hot water.

They pull free energy from the sun via air from the ceiling cavity to increase energy efficiency and keep costs down.

The macadamia factory also boasts state-of-the-art colour sorting.

This ensures a clean product and maximises the amount of kernel recovered.

Topics:  bundaberg macadamias