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ADVANCED MANUFACTURING IN TASMANIA GETS A BOOST

29-09-2015
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The advanced manufacturing sector in Tasmania's north-west has been given a boost, with a $3 million federal government grant to develop new mining technology.

Wynyard-based manufacturing company Haulmax has received federal funding to design and build two mobile explosive units, to be used in the surface mining industry.

The prototypes are being developed for an international company.

Haulmax managing director Kelly Elphinstone said the project would create local jobs.

"Under the current project, as it stands today, we're looking at between an extra 20 and 40 positions," she told ABC online.

"Obviously if we do a good job, the end goal is to secure a longer-term supply contract, which will hopefully eventuate in significantly more quantities of these units being produced out of Burnie on a yearly basis.

"If that does eventuate, we're probably looking at anywhere from 60 to 80 positions."

Ms Elphinstone said he believed it would also have flow-on effects for other local businesses.

"It's absolutely beneficial for our local supply chain," she said.

"When we're able to attract opportunities like this, we grab them with both hands and see where we can take them because the flow-on effects for the rest of the community is substantial.

"They say for every one direct job, three indirect jobs are created so if we're looking at 20 direct jobs, you know, that's another 60 positions out in the community."

She said it was a good sign for the sector.

"We continue to believe that advanced manufacturing remains absolutely possible in Tasmania and we have a really strong base from which to do that on the north-west coast," she said.

"We have an exceptionally strong skills base among the people on the north-west coast and really good supply chain that has developed over the last 40 years."

The project is already well underway.

"We've been working on this project for about 18 months now," Ms Elphinstone said.

"What we're focused on right now is the design and manufacture of the first two prototype units.

"We've already designed what we've called a test unit for the first prototype.

"All of the factory testing we've done to date has been super successful and we're actually hoping to deliver the final two prototypes to the customer in March next year."

The funding has been awarded under the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth package, which was previously allocated to support jobs and displaced workers from the forestry industry.

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