Costa Adelaide Mushrooms' Monarto facility set for $65 million expansion

Plenty more coming: Costa state manager Clint Ray and harvest manager Carmen White show off a box of mushrooms grown at Monarto. Photo: Supplied.
Plenty more coming: Costa state manager Clint Ray and harvest manager Carmen White show off a box of mushrooms grown at Monarto. Photo: Supplied.

Costa Adelaide Mushrooms will double production at its Monarto mushroom farm, spurring more jobs and economic activity in the Murraylands.

The facility already produces 120 tonnes of brown and white mushrooms per week – more one in seven of the mushrooms eaten in Australia.

By July 2019, that figure will increase to 240T per week, the company announced in a half-yearly results presentation on Thursday morning.

The expansion will cost $65 million.

Costa expects to recoup that cost by servicing the demand for mushrooms, which is increasing by three to four per cent per year.

Additional production will begin in December 2018.

The company is also investigating whether solar power could be used to guarantee a steady, cost-effective electricity supply to the farm.

It recently installed backup generators at a similar facility in Victoria to reduce the risk of blackouts, which could destroy up to seven weeks’ worth of crops.

Staff at the Monarto facility, which was developed under local ownership before being sold to the Costa Group in 2013, produce their own compost, grow and harvest mushrooms and pack them for shipping at the one carefully controlled site.

The facility has the lowest operating costs of any Costa Group mushroom farm in Australia, and can supply produce to all states within two days of shipment.

"The expansion will further enhance Costa’s competitive cost position with scale and new technology, and equip Costa with additional prepack and brown mushroom market development capability," the company said in an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

"Costa has worked in partnership with the South Australian government to bring the expansion project to fruition."

The Costa Group declined to provide further comment pending a formal announcement by the state government, expected next month.

State government funding was also involved in the expansion of another Murraylands food business, Big River Pork, which was announced last week.

Premier Jay Weatherill and Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith visited Brinkley to spruik that news in person.

The Costa Group has not indicated exactly how many jobs the expansion is likely to create.

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