The installation of the vat – the first of several to be installed – would help the cheese plant produce around 45,000 million tonnes of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan each year, site manager Jason Wright said.
Mr Wright said the installation of the vat was a major milestone for the team and came almost two years to the day of the fire, which destroyed the old plant in December 2014.
“Seeing the first of the vats go in has given the team a real boost, and lifted our spirits heading towards Christmas,” Mr Wright said.
The vat installation came during a busy month for Stanhope, with a number of visitors to the site from across the Fonterra business.
The visitors included the global ingredients team, who were awaiting the plant’s completion so that they could service growing demand for cheese throughout Asia.
“The teams from China and Japan have a friendly rivalry over which team will receive the first shipment of Stanhope cheese for their market,” Mr Wright said.
“As western diets become more popular in Asia, cheese demand has grown.
“The team here on site can’t wait to be able to help meet this demand by sending Stanhope cheese to the world when the plant is completed mid-2017.”