HOPES of turning the Triabunna woodchip mill into a tourism hub look to have been thwarted following reports last night that the East Coast site had been bought by a logging consortium.

The consortium, reportedly led by Bridgewater company Aprin Logging, was believed to have bought the mill before Friday’s announcement that Tasmanian entrepreneur Jan Cameron and fellow millionaire philanthropist Graeme Wood were bidding for the Gunns Limited site and planned to turn it into an eco-resort haven.

Ms Cameron, the owner of Tasmania’s Chickenfeed retail chain, told the Sunday Tasmanian last night she had not given up hope of buying the site despite the reports of a deal between Gunns and Aprin.

“It’s not a done deal yet. I am still hopeful we have a chance,” she said.

“There are conditions of sale that must be met before the sale can go through.”

Aprin’s owner Ron O’Connor told the ABC he wanted to keep the mill open because of its importance to Tasmania’s ailing forestry industry.

The sale price was not disclosed. It is believed Gunns had hoped to get $25 million for the mill but that figure then dropped to about $7 million.

Triabunna had been reeling from Gunns’ decision to close the mill and axe up to 50 jobs.

In 2004, Aprin Logging was reported to harvest more than 200,000 tonnes of softwood and hardwood a year and the 15-vehicle fleet of trucks moved 500,000-600,000 tonnes of logs. Ms Cameron said tourism at the site could create many new jobs.

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First published: 2011-06-12 10:01 AM