$7m expansion project: 40 jobs by Christmas
RATHER than decorating a pine tree this Christmas, Ray Mountfort will be putting them through his new factory.
The Essential Queensland rosin extraction factory expansion is expected to be three times the size of the current pilot factory and will increase productivity tenfold, according to the company's managing director Ray Mountfort.
Having spent the first half of the year "flying by the seats of our pants" as they tried to raise funds for the expansion of the operation extracting gum rosin and gum turpentine from pine trees at Isis Central, Mr Mountfort said they were now fully capitalised.
He said by the end of the year $7million would be invested into the site.
In addition to the rosin extraction factory build, they also plan to build an optimisation plant which would help produce 9000 tonnes of rosin per year.
With 20 years experience in industry, he said this was like "having the Powerball".
Likening the process to a front-rower on the football field making room, Mr Mountfort said it was the same when it came to the market.
He plans to have the new factory and optimisation plant operational by mid-January next year, once supply from the forestry came in, and to export to Japan and Europe.
From engineers and chemists to administration officers, operators, drivers, site manager and more, Mr Mountfort said the project would create about 40 jobs.
The company is looking for people who wanted to grow with business and join the current team of 13 who share a passion for extracting oil and rosin from pine through a "non-destructive" process.
He said they had also recently patented their extraction process, by which water was the only waste product, and even that goes back on to the site.
In time Mr Mountfort said they plan to increase their facilities to undertake value-adding fractionation on site.
This would enable Essential Queensland to take the essential oil and create five new products, and according to Mr Mountfort enhance their profitability and competitiveness on a global stage.
When previously speaking to the NewsMail, Mr Mountfort said the pine turps smelt like pine but was used as a base chemical.
Once converted, there's more than 5000 chemicals that can be made from it, including those used in perfume, fragrance in cleaning products and even strawberry flavouring and fruit essences.
When it comes to his hopes for the value-adding facility at the local site, Mr Mountfort was considering a compound which puts steel and rubber together and producing a pine oil for cooking.
For more information about employment opportunities at Essential Queensland, head to their website.