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Chinese in WA grain grab (cloned for GS 1364350399)
Chinese in WA grain grab (cloned for GS 1364350399)

A Chinese conglomerate is set to begin exporting grain direct from its WA-owned farms to China this summer after securing access to a storage and loading site at Albany Port.

The conglomerate has also continued its strategic spending spree on prime farms in the State's south with the $18 million purchase of land at Nyabing and Mindarabin.

The Beidahuang Group, operating in Australia through Heilongjiang Feng Agricultural, plans to fast-track its exports after Geelong-based company Vicstock Grain secured a 16-year lease on land and a storage shed near a woodchip berth at Albany Port.

Vicstock has worked closely with HFA on its plans to buy farms and establish grain storage, transport and loading facilities in WA independent of CBH, Australia biggest co-operative.

The HFA move comes as global giant Bunge begins construction work on loading facilities at Bunbury Port and signals the end of CBH's historic monopoly on bulk grain exports from the State.

A spokesman for HFA said the group would export grain to a number of overseas markets, not just China.

HFA planned to export at least 300,000 tonnes within the next 12 months depending on the progress of work to upgrade the loading and storage infrastructure at Albany, but ultimately it hoped for much higher export volumes.

HFA said it would compete with CBH and other traders for grain from local farmers to bolster the yields from its WA-owned farms.

It remained open to reaching a deal with CBH to use the co-operative's facilities at other ports.

Albany Port chief executive Brad Williamson confirmed the Vicstock deal but said it would not necessarily increase shipping movements because the grain would otherwise have been handled by CBH.

Mr Williamson said based on initial exports of 300,000 tonnes there could be up to 15 shipments a year from the Vicstock site. Grain will be transport to the site by truck.

The latest HFA farm purchase comes after it paid $52 million for 30,000ha over a four-week period late last year.

The properties at Nyabing and Mindarabin are close to HFA's $23.2 million purchases at Ongerup and a relatively short distance from its $29 million holdings at Lake Varley.

HFA is on the verge of securing another farm at Lake Grace after scaling back plans to buy up to 100,000ha of farmland.

_The West Australian _ revealed HFA's plans in exclusive reports in November, sparking a Foreign Investment Review Board investigation.