This month (June 2023), construction on the $60 million cotton gin will commence, located 17 km North of Kununurra on Mulligans Lagoon Road. The cotton processing plant construction will see numerous benefits to the area, offering a sustainable solution to the cotton industry in the North as well as providing employment for local workers and boosting the overall economy of the region
The news was announced late last month when the Regional Development Minister Don Punch met with farmers in Kununurra to discuss the Ord River Irrigation Area project, the establishment of the cotton industry, and the opportunities this presents for agricultural businesses.
“I am delighted to see the Kimberley Cotton Company (KCC) passing a significant milestone this week, ordering WA’s first cotton gin and moving closer to realising this transformational project for the region, local growers, Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation, and the pastoral industry in the East Kimberley.”
The development of a cotton gin marks the culmination of years of discussions and planning, which is now becoming a tangible reality with the support of the Cook government. Over the past six years, the government has dedicated its resources, including land allocation and funding, to support the project. Furthermore, the successful shareholder capital raising efforts by the KCC and the execution of a $32 million loan from the Commonwealth Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) have been instrumental in making the construction of the cotton gin possible.
The project is expected to reach completion by mid-2025, a remarkable milestone that will transform the region’s cotton industry and generate long-term benefits for the community.
Currently, cotton grown in northern Western Australia faces a considerable hurdle. It must be transported over 3,500 km to the processing facility, incurring high costs ranging from $100 to $200 per bale. However, the Kununurra Cotton Gin aims to eliminate this challenge by bringing the processing facility closer to the source of production. This strategic move not only reduces costs but also streamlines the cotton production process.
One of the standout features of the Kununurra Cotton Gin is its commitment to sustainability. The facility will be powered by a 100% renewable, reliable, and efficient energy supply, utilising low-emission hydroelectricity sourced from the nearby Argyle Dam. By harnessing clean hydroelectric power generated at Lake Argyle, the gin sets itself apart from the majority of Australian gins, which rely on electricity generated from gas, coal, or diesel. This conscious decision significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with the ginning process
“This processing facility is central to the development of a sustainable cotton industry and will provide significant employment opportunities for the Kununurra community.”
Research has estimated that the new cotton gin has the potential to create more than 1,000 direct and indirect local jobs in its first 10 years. Additionally, the construction itself will see the creation of 30 full time jobs until it begins operation in 2025. Overall, the project is forecast to yield significant public benefits of up to $386 million over 20 years
The Project is also expected to bring transformational benefits to northern Australia, particularly in the Ord River Irrigation Area and the western top end region of NT.
The construction of the Kununurra Cotton Gin represents a significant step towards establishing a robust and sustainable cotton industry in the region. This endeavour will not only bolster the local economy but also create numerous employment opportunities for the community. By streamlining the cotton processing and reducing the transportation costs associated with long-distance travel, the gin will enhance the region’s competitiveness in the broader cotton market.