Ta Ann could pull out of Tasmania if no resolution on peace talks is reached, says official, pledges decision within two weeks; comments come a day after flames from tree set on fire outside Hobart office spread to eaves of building

LOS ANGELES , November 13, 2012 () –

Ta Ann Tasmania Pty. Ltd. could close down its operations in Tasmania unless there is a resolution on the forestry peace talks, said a company top executive the day after a tree was set on fire in front of Ta Ann’s office in Hobart, Tasmania, reported ABC News on Nov. 13.

The tree was set on fire the night of Nov. 12, confirmed Ta Ann Executive Director Evan Rolley.

The fire caused damage estimated at about AU$10,000 (US$10,409) as it spread to the front eaves of Ta Ann’s office building in Hobart, according to Detective Inspector Peter Powell. Police are investigating the incident.

Earlier on Nov. 12, protesters locked themselves to a conveyor belt at Ta Ann’s veneer mill in Smithton, Tasmania, causing the operation to remain idle for six hours, ABC News reported.

Accusations hurled at the company by these protestors and others have strained relations with the Asian market, said Rolley. However, people buying the company’s products in Japan “don’t perceive some market change,” he said.

Ta Ann is “a strong supporter” of reaching a compromise on the forestry peace talks, but can not continue to hold out without a resolution, he said, noting that the company’s future in Tasmania depends on it, reported ABC News.

If the deadlock between industry and environmentalists is not resolved in the next two weeks, Ta Ann will make a decision about its future in Tasmania, said Rolley.

Without assurances on future wood supply, Ta Ann cannot operate profitably in Tasmania, he said, noting that the current situation is costing the business “thousands of dollars” to operate, ABC News reported.

Ta Ann has two veneer mills in Tasmania. The Huon mill was built in 2007, and the Smithton mill was built in 2008. Together the two mills represent an investment of AU$79 million, according to the company’s website.

The primary source of this article is ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corp., Sydney, Australia, on Nov. 13, 2012.


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