Slink processing restarts

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Slink lamb processing. Photo: Supplied

ABOUT 50 seasonal jobs are expected to return to Mataura with a slink skin operation restarting in the Eastern Southland town this month.

Nationwide co-products business Wallace Group announced this week it would set up shop in the former Slinkskins Ltd plant, which closed last year.

Slinkskins Ltd picked up and processed “slinks” (dead lambs), dead cows or calves.

Last year the Southland company said the prices it could achieve from selling calf skins were below what it could produce them for. That prompted the Mataura plant to be mothballed.

However, Wallace Group chief executive officer Graham Shortland believed its nationwide network would help ensure a venture into the Southland market would be viable.

Wallace Group picks up about half a million slink lambs annually in the South Island and about 40,000-50,000 in the North Island.

“We’re very pleased to have extended our presence in Southland.

“The recycling of co-products from the agricultural sector performs a valuable service for farmers and processors as well as protecting the natural environment from the impact of dead stock.

“It’s also good news for the local economy, as around two dozen contractors are required for slink lamb and calf collection along with about 30 staff for processing.”

Last year Wallace Group also acquired Nichols (NZ) Ltd, which operated a specialist tannery in Christchurch and a significant casualty stock collector network across the South Island.

Wallace Group’s Christchurch tannery business general manager Bernie Lynskey suggested it would not be just those seasonal workers who would benefit financially from the Wallace Group’s venture into Eastern Southland.

“In addition to providing work for contractors, community groups also get involved in collection of slink lambs and calves as a fundraiser. Over the years substantial money has been returned to communities and local charities in this way,” he said.

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