Construction starts at Thomas Foods International's new meat works

Watch the video showing the progress being made on the company's $300 million processing facility near Murray Bridge.

Construction has started in earnest at the site of Thomas Foods International’s new meat works near Murray Bridge.

Civil earthworks have started in the paddock at Pallamana which will soon be transformed into a world-leading meat processing facility.

Badge Construction has begun to move about 180,000 cubic metres of soil around the site, levelling it out so foundations can be laid and drainage systems put in.

Site offices have been put in place, as have tanks of water for use in soil preparation and dust suppression.

Thomas Foods CEO Darren Thomas said the construction project was a significant undertaking for his family’s company.

“We’ve set ourselves extremely high standards for what we see becoming the most advanced facility of its kind in Australia, if not the world,” he said in an email update last week.

“After much planning and behind the scenes work by our project team, it’s very pleasing to see we’re now well and truly into the process of turning our vision into a reality.

“I look forward to sharing its progress with you as our facility begins to take shape.”

The first stage of construction will focus on the plant’s beef processing line: stockyards, an abattoir, boning rooms and chilling and freezing facilities.

About 500 people will be needed to staff the plant when it opens in late 2022.

An extra 1500 jobs will become available when sheep processing facilities are added at a later stage.

Meat works rebuild has been guided by long-term vision

The road leading to this point has already been a long one.

The rebuild became necessary after TFI’s previous meat works, in the heart of Murray Bridge, were gutted by fire in 2018.

In the days afterward, Mr Thomas promised his company would not move anywhere else, a promise to which he remained faithful as years went by.

TFI won development approval for its new facility last June, Badge Construction was announced as a project partner in November, and a ceremonial sod-turning was held at the construction site in December.

The entire $300 million project may not be completed until as late as 2030, depending on market conditions.

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