Casino's ethanol jobs prospect
By Alex Easton
A NEW ethanol plant planned for Casino will create hundreds of new jobs, help the environment, and boost the North Coast's farming sector, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile said yesterday. Mr Vaile yesterday announced the plant would get $2.2 million under the government's Sustainable Regions program to help kick it off. The North Coast Bio-Energy Plant is planned by Casino-based company Bio-En Australia to be built at Benns Road, Shannon Brook, about four kilometres south-west of Casino. Mr Vaile said the plant was expected to create about 400 jobs during construction, with another 85 direct jobs once the plant was complete. The plant was expected to create about 600 indirect jobs in support industries and the farming sector and pump about $255 million into the Casino economy each year. The plant would initially produce about 80,000 litres of ethanol, which can be added to petrol to reduce its cost and environmental impact, from about 200,000 tonnes of locally-grown corn, wheat, sorghum and barley. One of Bio-En's directors, Craig Wilkinson, said the plant had been planned in planning for about two years. It did not have council approval, although Mr Wilkinson said he hoped to get that approval within 12 months. Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox said the council broadly supported the plan and that it, combined with other developments in the town, such as the Metgasco gas operation and a poly-tank manufacturer was another step forward in Casino's growth towards becoming the region's industrial hub.