The entire Darkan wet-blue tannery in Western Australia, which ceased production a year ago, was about to be auctioned (May 25) as Leather International went to press. The plant went under the hammer with Perth-based auctioneers W Gregsons on instructions from the receivers.

Plant including fleshing equipment, drums of 10 tonne capacity, sammying machines and waste treatment equipment were included amongst the wide variety of lots.

The largely bovine operation closed a year ago with the loss of some 20 jobs amidst claims from union representatives that staff had been given inadequate notice. Owners Gosh Leather gave difficulties with resourcing hides because of ‘foot and mouth’ as the reason for the tannery closure.

Alison Bunting of the Liquor, Hospitality & Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) said: ‘This is a small town of 250 people so losing 24 jobs from this town is a body blow for the regional economy.’

Leather International was unable to obtain a comment from Darkan Leather managing director Joe Princie. The tannery was not expected to reopen on-site as a going concern and was not expected to realise more than A$1 million according to well-placed sources.

Ian Francis of receivers Taylor Woodings said: ‘A couple of potential purchasers are talking about whether they would be able to relocate overseas – SE Asia – but whether that is plausible or achievable I do not know.’