Customer Focus: GIB

Winstone Wallboards has been proudly manufacturing GIB® plasterboard right here in Aotearoa for over 90 years. To make GIB® plasterboard, a consistent supply of gypsum is essential for the manufacturing site in Opawa, Christchurch.

Chances are the interior walls around you are made of GIB® plasterboard. But do you know what GIB® is made of? Around 90% of GIB® plasterboard is gypsum – a naturally occurring mineral deposit found in large volumes around the world.

Gordon White, Residential Market Manager for Winstone Wallboards, says that, although small amounts of gypsum are available in New Zealand, the company relies on imports to provide the consistent high volumes required to supply the New Zealand building industry.

“Our current supply of gypsum comes from South Australia, but we also have alternative supply options from around the globe to ensure continuity of supply.”

Gypsum is transported to New Zealand on specialist open-cell ships. After arriving in Port, the raw material is trucked through the tunnel to the manufacturing facility in Opawa. With 10,000 tonnes arriving in Lyttelton every four to six weeks, getting it from the ship to the Opawa factory is a significant operation.

While GIB® plasterboard has been the choice of Kiwi builders for over 90 years, the company isn’t one to rest on its laurels. Gordon says that improving environmental performance is a top priority for the business.

“GIB plasterboard is already a green product. It’s sustainable, non-toxic and compostable. But there’s always more we can do. In Christchurch, Canterbury Landscape Supplies recycles our manufacturing site waste. They also take plasterboard offcuts from building sites, which are crushed with the gypsum then used in a range of composting products. This is something we are looking to expand further around the country with a range of providers.”

Further plans include shifting the North Island manufacturing site from Auckland GIB® to a new state-of-the-art plant in Tauranga in late 2023. This will provide both increased production capacity and allow for further environmental improvements.

“Our new plant will enable us to reduce our carbon emissions footprint. It will also allow for a degree of plasterboard offcuts to be reused in the manufacturing process of new plasterboard. We want to keep making Kiwi walls for another 90 years, and that means doing everything we can for the environment.”

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