COST will be the decisive factor in whether a $25 million timber-processing factory is built in Albury or Wodonga.
Manufacturer XLam trumpeted on Monday it would build Australia's first cross laminated timber factory on the Border with plans for 54 jobs.
The exact location is yet to be decided with XLam business development manager Rob De Brincat saying his firm was negotiating with Albury and Wodonga councils to secure the best deal.
“We're considering a couple of site options with a decision likely to be made in coming weeks,” he said.
“We're speaking about a staged approval process with both councils and we're hoping to start construction in the next six weeks.
“It's looking at different land and build costs, because they're both in close proximity cost is the main driver.”
XLam imports cross laminated timber from its factory in New Zealand and decided on Albury-Wodonga for an Australian plant because of its location and skilled labour force.
The factory's panels would be custom built for walls, floors and roofs.
It would have capacity to produce 60,000 cubic metres of timber and employ 30 with another 24 indirect jobs via transport and maintenance needs.
Timber would be supplied by Tumbraumba's mill, with its owner Hyne a major shareholder in XLam.
Mr De Brincat said it was hoped the factory would be operating by June next year with an initial workforce of eight to 10 building to 30 as demand grew.
The 12,600-square-metre factory would cost $10 million to build and house $15 million in equipment.
Albury acting mayor David Thurley said his council was keen to host the factory, pointing to industrial land at Ettamogah and the airport.
“We've got the land and we're pretty good at this sort of stuff, so I think we've got a pretty good chance,” Cr Thurley said.
Wodonga Council's director business services Trevor Ierino expressed delight.
“Their commitment is a vote of confidence in the significance of our region and benefits of our location,” he said.