THE Clovers Meats abattoir is set to re-open and will be processing stock by the first week of July.
The facility has been leased from owner Timepath Holdings by Daniel and Joanne Delaney, who will trade as South West Meat Processors. The Clover Meats plant was, at one stage, one of WA's biggest export
abattoirs before it was closed down in 1998.
The Delaneys will operate the abattoir as a service kill facility only, but Mr Delaney said it would add more competition into the meat industry.
"While it is early days, we have already secured a significant pig contract and a couple of sizeable sheep contracts and these, in addition to processing for our own wholesale division Delaney Meats, will be enough to get us started," Mr Delaney said.
The Delaneys bought the Corrigin abattoir and butcher shop 18 months ago and said that business had grown to the extent that they had to decide whether to make a substantial investment in expanding that facility or look for a larger scale existing facility that could be re-commissioned.
"Initially at Corrigin we were processing our own stock and wholesaling the product ourselves," Mr Delaney said.
"We then expanded that business to take on service kills for other parties and moved to the point where we were processing up to 1000 sheep and 150 pigs per week.
"That was one of the last of the country slaughterhouses to be given a domestic license, so there wasn't a lot of room to expand.
"We either had to spend a significant amount of money and expand that facility or look for an alternative.
"There were issues at Corrigin with getting labour and also extra freight costs and really the Clover Meats facility is ideally suited to our model in terms of location and capacity."
Mr Delaney said there was enough chiller space to process 1200 small species a day.
"We aim to be processing 1000 sheep and 200 pigs per day," he said.
"Obviously we won't be doing that number to start off with, but that will give us the opportunity to iron out any problems before the big numbers of sucker lambs and mutton start hitting the market in spring."
Mr Delaney said the aim of the business was to give everyone the opportunity to market their own product.
"Currently, in some cases, there could be a 40pc margin in what the product is being sold for and what producers are receiving at the farm gate," he said.
"Most of the other processors in WA are either full processing their own product plus doing a small amount of contract killing.
"Here we will offer a 12 month contract up front, which will guarantee kill space."
"While we are only starting off with pigs and sheep, if the model works as well as we think it will then we will move into beef processing.
"The industry is saying that it needs more competition and it would appear that the state is lacking a small service kill facility, so we are providing that service. It is up to the industry now to support it."