Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) has begun construction of its shell forging plant in Maryborough.
Heavy machinery moved in during March, just after BADGE Constructions was announced as the builder, to begin the process of transforming the greenfield site into a 7000 square metre artillery shell forging factory that will eventually supply the ADF and allied forces globally.
The $60 million facility is planned to be fully operational by 2022.
The projectile plant has had the backing of both the Federal Government ($28.5 million) and State Government ($7.5 million).
BADGE will lead a 14-month construction phase, which would be followed by the fit-out then commissioning late next year.
''This has been in the planning stages for two years, so it is very exciting to see work finally begin, especially at a time when the wider economy has been knocked around by the COVID-19 pandemic,'' RNM Maryborough project manager Jeff Crabtree said. ''The new building will not only be an employment-generator for the immediate future, but it will put this region on the map for years to come as a defence industry centre of excellence domestically and globally.''
Recruitment at RNM has already begun for senior managers and engineers with employment in advanced manufacturing roles to open late 2020, early 2021.
''We looked at sites around the world for a factory like this and in the end we settled on this region because we know we can draw on the skills, workmanship and expertise to make high-quality equipment,” Roman Koehne, Chairman of Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions, said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said production from the Maryborough facility would meet increasing demand for investment in munitions for the ADF.
“The forging and manufacturing facility will ensure future resources supplied to the ADF will be Australian-made and create Australian industry capability now and into the future,” Minister McCormack said.