Boost for regional manufacturing as Orica and Thales team up

Thales and Orica, the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives, have signed a 10-year contract for Thales in Australia to produce five million explosive boosters each year, in a deal that is good news for regional manufacturing.

Boosters are small explosive devices that help detonate larger charges, and are used extensively across Australia’s mining and construction industries.

The new contract with Thales will replace imported products with Australian ones, and strengthens Orica’s leading position in this market.

The order will increase manufacturing activity at the Benalla (Vic) and Mulwala (NSW) facilities operated by Thales, including the establishment of a new multi-million dollar production line for the boosters, designed and built in Victoria. The boosters themselves are an advanced new product designed by Orica.

“At a time of ongoing economic uncertainty, this is a great result for manufacturing in regional Victoria and New South Wales,” said Thales in Australia CEO Chris Jenkins. “Not only are we increasing employment and production levels at the sites, we’re also giving a leading Australian company committed to technology and innovation the reassurance of a high quality supply chain based in this country. Credit to Orica for investing in local skills and local manufacturing. We would also like to thank the Department of Defence for their strong support of this initiative.”

Orica CEO Alberto Calderon said: “The agreement with Thales will make Orica even more competitive in Australia, with better quality booster products. It will enhance security of supply for our customers, and be more efficient for Orica. Solidifying a deal with Thales, with its reputation and leadership in technology and innovation, is an excellent strategic fit for Orica. In addition, sustaining jobs in regional Australia as a result of this agreement is a very positive flow-on benefit for the broader community.”
The new contract sustains around 100 jobs. Approximately 200 people currently work at Benalla, and 400 at Mulwala. Key Australian component suppliers will also benefit through increased annual orders from Thales as a result of the deal.

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