THE former Gunns Ling Siding plant will return to production if a bid by a Scottsdale timber company succeeds.
Stronach Timber Industries managing director Michael Brill said yesterday that he wanted to relocate his business to the former Gunns site and grow it as a regional timber production hub.
Stronach is about a kilometre from Ling Siding, on the Tasman Highway, and made an unsuccessful bid for the site just before Gunns went into receivership last year.
Gunns receiver-manager KordaMentha is seeking expressions of interest by Friday to buy the 34-hectare Ling Siding and nearby 45-hectare Tonganah sites, both former Gunns sawmills.
Mr Brill said he was waiting for a list from KordaMentha of assets at Ling Siding but hoped to buy the site within a few months and relocate his business there.
He said he did not expect the site to restart as a green timber sawmill, but it would become a value-adding site, with kiln, timber treatment and moulding equipment.
Mr Brill would not disclose his bid price, but said the site would need about $1.5 million in rehabilitation costs if it was shut down permanently.
This should work in his favour, as that cost would only be a contingent liability and would be reduced over time if he took over, as the site could be remediated over time.
Dorset Mayor Barry Jarvis welcomed the possibility of Ling Siding returning to life but was less confident about Tonganah, as the site was stripped of equipment.
``The crux of it will be the quality of the assets,'' Cr Jarvis said of the two sites.
``But a couple of players are interested in having a look.''
KordaMentha spokesman Michael Smith said there had been several inquiries about the sites and a sale was possible within a few weeks.