A VAST 40-hectare ``moonscape'' of crushed rock situated along the Tamar River marks the completed first stage of Gunns proposed pulp mill.
The $20 million bulk earthworks at Bell Bay which started in August saw 750,000 cubic metres of earth and rock excavated and re-laid to make a level shelf.
Initially Gunns thought it would have to blast its way to flatness.
Instead workers were able to crush about 250,000 tonnes of rock with heavy machinery on site.
The flat rocky platform will serve as the ``floor'' for a large section of the $3 billion pulp mill if it gets built.
A massive operation, it would feature a 130-metre high smoke stack, an 80-metre high recovery boiler, treatment plants, turbines, woodchip mill, wharf, chemical production plant and a host of other parts.
``We never said it's not going to be big, it's going to be massive,'' Gunns environmental officer Chris Davey said.
The result would be the biggest mill of its type pumping out three things to the market - pulp, power and potentially chemicals.
About 4.3 million tonnes of woodchips a year would produce up to 1.3 million tonnes of pulp for products like fine paper, facial wipes and nappies.
Liniment from the woodchips along with wood residue would be converted on site into 180 megawatts of base load ``green'' power, eligible for renewable energy credits according to Gunns.
Excess chemicals could also be on-sold for the production of gases like argon, used in fluorescent lighting.
Yesterday Gunns claimed all the equipment and machinery used to complete stage one of the earthworks came from within Tasmania.
``That was at a good point because most of the contractors were doing it pretty tough,'' Gunns managing director Greg L'Estrange said.
But there is still a long road ahead.
Without a venture partner the next stage of construction is unlikely and Gunns, stuck in a trading halt, is yet to announce one.
The company, which has flagged a possible name and location change, has not yet negotiated a capital raising deal looking to raise $400 million.