Kimberly-Clark Australia, the single largest employer in South Australia’s South East, is investing a further $20 million in its Millicent Mill to upgrade equipment and increase production of its Kleenex products. This follows a $33 million investment in a new energy-saving cogeneration plant, which has taken the Millicent Mill off the electricity grid and greatly reduced the company’s carbon emissions.
At an event to celebrate the company’s achievements last week, the State Treasurer, Tom Koutsantonis, also announced a new licensing agreement between Kimberly-Clark Australia and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which will build on the company’s existing waste water improvements and sustainability initiatives.
“While we acknowledge the challenges facing the sector, we commend Kimberly-Clark Australia for facing them head on and leading the way as a sustainable and competitive manufacturer in South Australia,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
Mr Koutsantonis said for the past 50 years, the company has operated under an indenture agreement which provided regulatory certainty for the Mill’s operators. This allowed for the discharge of wastewater, outside of normal environmental regulations. However, the EPA and Kimberly-Clark Australia have been working together for several years to ensure a smooth transition to full licensing, ahead of the expiry of the indenture.
Mr Koutsantonis said Kimberly-Clark Australia has made significant investments to reduce and improve wastewater, along with its carbon footprint.
“The company says its Mill’s waste water discharges have gone from 35 megalitres a day in 2010 to about 10 megalitres a day currently and now meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” he said.
“This new licensing agreement will mean further improvements to water quality in Lake Bonney, which was re-opened for recreation last year for the first time since 1983.
“The Mill has also more than halved its energy and carbon footprint over the past five years, while the new $33 million cogeneration plant will reduce carbon emissions by 80,000 tonnes per annum.”^