This was an historic and momentous occasion for Tiwi. Tiwi are and have been for a long time determined to create a commercial economy and provide jobs for their people and income for their communities. The Tiwi islands forestry project is key to this vision.
It is expected that the export of Tiwi woodchip will provide between $140 million and $150 million in export income to Australia and the Northern Territory over the next 5 years.
The project is already delivering Indigenous jobs, with up to 80 expected to be created over the coming years.
When did the ship arrive?
The 1st woodchip ship carrier, Daio Papyrus, arrived at Port Melville on Monday 23 November.
The ship is rated as a 3.6 million cubic foot woodchip carrier. It was loaded with 31,000 green metric tonnes of Tiwi woodchip. The actual quantity was determined by the compaction tractor and the moisture content of the woodchip.
Where is the woodchip being sold?
The woodchip is sold FOB to Mitsui Bussan Woodchip Oceania Pty Ltd who on sell the woodchip to customers in Japan.
Tiwi woodchip will be used in the production of high-quality paper such as that used for photocopying and printing.
Tiwi leaders negotiated and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsui on 10th February 2014. They negotiated and signed a five-year Sales and Purchase Agreement of Woodchip with Mitsui on 30 March 2015.
When will the next ship arrive?
A 2nd consignment of Tiwi woodchip is expected to be dispatched in January 2016. Further shipments are planned for every 2 months.
The ships will berth and be loaded at Port Melville, at a floating pontoon wharf.
When did the woodchip harvest begin and how is it undertaken?
Harvesting of Tiwi woodchip started on 23 June this year with two harvest units each comprising an infield Peterson chipper, a Tiger Cat harvester and a Tiger Cat skidder together with Isuzu woodchip trucks.
The chips are brought into a woodchip storage depot where they are screened to ensure they meet market specifications. The equipment at the depot was built by a Mt Gambier firm, De Bruin Pty Ltd.
The ship loading equipment comprising mobile conveyors was purchased through a Melbourne firm Skala Pty Ltd and manufactured in the USA.
Approximately half the equipment was purchased through a grant from the Australian Government Aboriginal Benefits Account.
The remaining equipment was purchased through a commercial loan from Commonwealth Bank Australia.
Working capital funding for the harvest and loading of the first two vessels was obtained through a commercial loan from the Export Finance and Insurance Corporationand a commercial overdraft facility from the Commonwealth Bank.