Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is planning a major upgrade of Harvey Beef as he targets new markets for WA agriculture, including a big boost in exports to Malaysia.

Harvey Beef recently resumed sales to Malaysia, which was once a major customer for WA’s biggest beef exporter.

General manager Wayne Shaw said there was strong demand and huge potential in Malaysia.

“Malaysian consumers love good beef,” Mr Shaw said. “Being a major tourist destination in the region, we see great opportunities to grow with the market.”

Harvey Beef wants to cover all market segments, from manufacturing to high-end restaurants.

“The initial response from Malaysian importers has been strong, with Harvey Beef already shipping significant volumes,” Mr Shaw said.

“We are working on supply and marketing strategies with Malaysian importers and operators to expand the business.”

Harvey Beef is preparing for its first major upgrade since Mr Forrest’s Minderoo Group took ownership last May.

Mr Forrest paid about $45 million to return the business to WA hands and pledged to invest in upgrading the abattoir, which employs about 300 people and processes about 145,000 cattle a year.

Harvey Beef was starved of investment in plant and equipment under previous owner Pacific Alliance Group. Industry insiders estimate Minderoo could need to make an initial investment of $20 million to upgrade the facilities, which supply Coles and about 30 overseas markets.

Mr Shaw, who took over as general manger late last year, said Harvey Beef had been exploring development opportunities “across the supply chain”.

He said the multimillion- dollar upgrade would increase throughput and open the door for new product ranges.

Mr Shaw said Harvey Beef was committed to delivering sustainable returns to farmers.

“We believe this can be best achieved by sourcing the best cattle, delivering best-practice productivity through a modern and efficient facility and building long-term relationships with our valued customers,” he said.

Please note that as of 13 May 2020, Minderoo Group formally changed its name to Tattarang.

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