Construction is expected to start this week on a $20 million abattoir in the Kimberley, with 50 per cent of its product to be sold to Singapore.
Jack and Vicki Burton, of Yeeda Pastoral Company, and their equity partners in the venture, Michelle and Mervyn Key of Kimberley Pastoral Investments, said in Broome on Saturday that an agreement had been secured to supply free-range beef to Singapore.
Mr Burton said the abattoir, between Broome and Derby, should hit its straps by 2014, when it would process at least 55,000 head of cattle per year.
It could help the Kimberley cattle industry clear a glut of heavier cattle, which have been unsuitable for export since Indonesia introduced weight restrictions in 2010.
“This would never be for the replacement of live export, but for cattle that don’t suit live export,” Mr Burton said.
Mr Burton said he was also keen to create opportunities for local indigenous employment and training.
The announcement was not only to garner support from the Kimberley pastoral industry, local government and departments who were present, but also to officially receive endorsement from the WA Government.
Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said he was pleased to see the Burton’s confidence in the industry and willingness to take a risk in a project with huge potential.
"I’m looking forward to the day we cut the ribbon on that facility and see this become the sharp point for agriculture in the north," Mr Redman said.
The facility is expected to be built by September 2013.
There has not been an abattoir functioning in the Kimberley since the Broome meatworks closed in 1994.