Lakeland Dairies is beginning a €36m investment in an expansion of milk powder processing operations at Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.

The investment has been supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, made the announcement in Cavan that the investment would create 81 new jobs and 180 construction jobs.

Construction will start immediately and Minister Bruton today turned the first sod for the new development together with Alo Duffy, Chairman of Lakeland Dairies and Group Chief Executive, Michael Hanley.

The overall development will lead to the creation of 81 jobs across the Lakeland Dairies Group over a five-year period. Up to 180 construction jobs will also be created by contractors during the building, installation and commissioning phases for the new processing facilities.

Lakeland Dairies’ Group CEO Michael Hanley said that growth in our global dairy ingredients business is being fuelled by consumer trends and developments in food industry sectors where we have access to key markets and customers throughout the world.

“Over the past five years we have transformed our processing capabilities and have also underpinned our future export potential with new global logistics facilities. The expansion of our operations at Bailieboro will create further advantages for our milk producers.

“In particular, we see continuing opportunity in the areas of infant formulae, dairy proteins and health related nutritional products, among other categories, where we are a globally recognised leading supplier of the highest quality milk powders.”

The expansion will see the installation of a new 7 tonne per hour milk drying facility at Bailieboro where total milk powder production capacity will increase to 19 tonnes per hour.

Lakeland Dairies processes over 800m litres of farm produced milk annually and exports to over 70 countries worldwide.

Following the abolition of milk quotas later this year, annual milk supply to Lakeland Dairies is expected to increase by some 40% to over 1 billion litres by 2020.

Lakeland currently produces 80,000 tonnes of milk powders a year and this will rise to 130,000 tonnes on completion of the project in 2016.

The co-operative also produces 24,000 tonnes of butter on the same site which provides for considerable flexibility in milk throughput and overall economies of scale for the food ingredients business.