Grant to assist expansion plans for Beachport seaweed company



A Beachport-based seaweed company will use a $38,045 State Government grant to upgrade its processing equipment in an effort to expand its business.

Australian Kelp Products (AKP) - founded in 1995 by Bevan and Susan Mills - harvests seaweeds from the beaches of South Australia's Limestone Coast.

Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Minister, Tom Kenyon said the grant would be used to purchase two new drying racks and fund an engineering upgrade at the company's processing facility near Millicent.

"AKP has the only commercial seaweed licence in South Australia and currently produces liquid kelp fertilisers and dry seaweed products for livestock supplements," Mr Kenyon said.

"Along with the $38,045 government grant, the company is also investing around $47,000 to hire additional equipment required to process large amounts of seaweed.

"By increasing its seaweed processing capacity, AKP believes it can expand its export potential and create a new high-value industry here in South Australia.

"In 2011, the company undertook a feasibility study in partnership with Flinders University which looked at opportunities to extract high-value products from seaweed.

"I'm pleased to offer this funding on behalf of the State Government to assist AKP with the necessary infrastructure upgrades that will help capture these opportunities," Mr Kenyon said.

AKP owner Bevan Mills said the lower Limestone Coast region was unique due to its mix of cold nutrient rich Atlantic waters with the warm gulf streams of Gulf St Vincent which resulted in more than 1,140 distinctive species of seaweed.

"Seaweed has a complex chemical structure and can be manufactured into new products for a variety of markets," Mr Mills said.

"AKP currently supplies our range of kelp products to sustainable agricultural companies nationally and through these partners also exports to Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa.

"I'm confident that with the purchase of improved processing equipment, we'll be able to increase our production levels and potentially expand into a range of new products," Mr Mills said.

Mr Kenyon said the project was supported by Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast.