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JBS reopens Friboi plant in Brazil after fire

Global meat producer JBS has announced it is resuming operations today (20 November) at its Friboi beef processing unit in Diamantino, Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Production at the site had been suspended since June, as the result of a fire at the facility.

As it stands, the plant has an initial processing capacity of 600 heads of cattle which is expected to increase to “1,800 in the coming weeks”.

Renovation work will allow the factory to more than double its processed cattle volume, when compared to its former capacity, JBS said

The total workforce at the plant is predicted to increase from 1,400 to 3,000. Employees will be divided into two shifts.

The site is expected to feature “a new freezing tunnel, an expanded park for packaging vacuum products and an exclusive area for future line installations specific for the production of portioned beef cuts”.

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By GlobalData

“The Diamantino factory is being equipped with the most modern automation and the highest technology in beef processing and freezing, with a focus on value-added products and portioned products”, said Renato Costa, president of JBS’s Friboi division.

The expansion work at the plant is expected to be completed in 2024.

Once the renovation is complete, the newly installed capacity will allow the Friboi Diamantino site to produce 3,600 heads of cattle per day, which JBS said will make it the largest beef production factory in Latin America.

As a result of the increased capacity, the company added it would now be prepared “to meet the main requirements of international markets, including halal processing”.

During the initial reopening, the Diamantino factory will be supported “in complementary activities” by the group’s other Friboi units, which are located in Barra do Garças and in Campo Grande.

The “initial stage” of operations will also see an injection of 300m reais ($61m) from the company, though it is unclear if this sum is part of the 800m reais that it announced earlier this year as part of its recovery and expansion of the site.

“This investment reinforces our commitment to the development of the regions in which we operate. In the State of Mato Grosso alone, we already employ more than 9,500 people”, Gilberto Xandó, the CEO of JBS’s Brazilian arm, said in a statement.

Just Food has contacted JBS for clarification on whether this funding is part of the same sum it announced in June.

It has also asked whether investigations into the fire at the plant are still taking place.

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