Australia’s largest beef processor has announced plans to expand its operations in Queensland to take advantage of rising demand in Japan.

Australia Meat Holdings is to spend A$11m (US$8.4m) on its Beef City plant in southern Queensland, in order to increase the plant’s processing capacity to around 4,000 head of cattle per week, reported ABC News.

The company had planned to carry out the expansion in 2001, but plans were put on hold following the discovery of a case of BSE in Japan.

Meat and Livestock Australia said this week that Australian beef exports declined 6% in February, but exports of Australian beef and veal to Japan in February rose 47% compared to February 2003.