The proposed Kununurra cotton gin is central to the development of a sustainable cotton industry in the North. With a $32 million-dollar loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to construct Stage One of a cotton gin, as well a $4 million State Government contribution, the Kununurra Cotton Gin is a step closer to becoming a reality.
Currently, all cotton grown in northern Western Australia must be transported more than 3,500 kilometres to the nearest processing facility in Queensland at a cost of $100-$200 per bale.
In April 2021, the Kimberley Cotton Company (KCC) was formed, which is a partnership between the Ord River District Cooperative (ORDCO), Kimberley Agricultural Investment (KAI), and Miriuwung Gajerrong (MG) Corporation. The company was established to lead the construction and operation of a Kununurra cotton processing facility that is crucial to make cotton an economically feasible broadacre crop into the future.
In September 2021, the Commonwealth’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) board approved a $32 million loan to the KCC to construct Stage One of a cotton gin.
The first stage of construction, subject to necessary land being made available for cotton production, is anticipated to be completed in 2023. When completed, the facility has the potential to process cotton grown on up to 15,000 hectares and produce 120,000 bales of cotton each year, as well as add $268 million to the gross value of agricultural production in the region.
A recent study has shown a new cotton gin could create more than 1,000 direct and indirect local jobs in its first 10 years, generating $1.19 billion in cotton lint exports and value adding benefits from the cotton seed by-product as a livestock feed.
The State Government has long supported the initiative, providing land and contributing $4 million towards a renewable power supply..
The expansion to the second stage will occur when warranted, and this will be primarily driven by available production hectares to provide sufficient throughput to the facility.
The final hurdle for the long-awaited cotton gin now hinges on the findings of an environmental study by the WA Department of Primary Industries (DPIRD) into the plant species Typhonium. The State is continuing to work with growers to secure the necessary approvals for farmland that will support the development of the cotton industry in the Ord River Irrigation Area.
Western Australian Government Media Statement