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Opal Group is spending $140m to build a new greenfield site in regional Victoria to manufacture cardboard packaging, which will pump out north of 160 million sqm of corrugated each year.

Turning the sod on the $140m greenfield investment: (l-r) Chris Daly, Opal executive general manager – Packaging, Matt Iizuka, Opal CEO, and Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton.
Image - Opal Group

The new plant will have four converting machines with printing, a combination of Bobst flexo folder gluers and Goepfert rotary die cutters with inline printing. They will be housed in the new facility that is now being built in Wodonga, on the Victoria NSW border.

Opal is a major supplier of high-volume custom printed folding cartons to brands across Australia and New Zealand.

The company currently runs litho and flexo printing at its existing plants, and has the country's first EFI Nozomi digital high speed, sheetfed, full-colour, carton printing line at its Oakleigh plant.

It already has the capability to deliver a range of solutions encompassing custom printed folding cartons and carton sleeves, quick-serve restaurant cartons, carry packs, facial tissue cartons, high quality printed confectionery cartons and general retail folding cartons. Its folding carton printing capabilities include graphic and pre-press design, flexo printing, post-print and litho printing.

The new facility is a strategic investment by parent company Nippon Paper Group, enabling Opal to meet increasing market demand for corrugated cardboard packaging. The total $140m investment includes the cost of the land, facility construction, and the technology and equipment – a mix of locally and internationally sourced kit that will fit out the plant.

Lifting a shovel at the sod-turning ceremony for the greenfield site, Opal CEO Matt Iizuka said this is a significant investment Opal is making in modern manufacturing in regional Victoria. “Opal operates a fully integrated value chain in sustainable fibre packaging. The new facility will allow us to supply growing markets and better serve the developing needs of our customers,” he said.

Opal executive GM – Packaging, Chris Daly, said that Opal wanted to establish a regional presence to complement its existing national infrastructure. "As a major manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, Opal is committed to driving growth in sustainable packaging and this is an oppurtunity for the fibre division to lead this change," he said.

The project will be undertaken in two stages. Stage One of the facility development involves the construction of a highly automated, sophisticated 47,000sqm manufacturing site, located at the Logic Wodonga industrial estate at Barnawartha.

Stage Two will see the extension of the facility’s supply capacity to meet growth in demand, through emerging technologies.

Daly said sustainability will play a key role in the design of the facility via solar energy generation and water harvesting capability. He said, "The new plant will feature enhanced supply chain capabilities and advanced manufacturing, and will align with Opal’s circular economy approach, through the local production of recycled and recyclable fibre packaging."

Once operational, the new Stage One facility will support 432 direct and flow-on workers. The Victorian government is providing support to secure job opportunities for regional Victoria. Matt Iizuka said, “We appreciate the Victorian Government’s role in providing support to help make this important regional project into a reality.”

Opal was formerly the Australian paper and fibre packaging business of Orora, which sold it to Nippon Paper two years ago for $1.7bn.

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