The multimillion-pound expansion of a north manufacturing factory will lead to more jobs in the first and in transportation.
Norbord Europe Ltd wants to build a new facility at their Dalcross site between Inverness and Nairn.
The plans include an upgrade of the 25-year-old plant, which makes oriented strand board (OSB).
As part of the proposals, the company has lodged an application to carry out preparatory works on the proposed site.
The scheme includes earthworks, retaining walls, foundations, the creation and upgrade of internal roads, drainage works and landscaping.
The application will be debated by Highland councillors at the south planning committee on Tuesday.
Norbord’s managing director Karl Morris said yesterday that the investment in the Inverness-shire site was in the “high £10millions” and would support hundreds of existing jobs at the factory and many more in the supply chain.
He said that that the new facility would double the company’s capacity and increase the amount of product exported to the rest of the UK and the continent.
Mr Morris said: “This product is still growing in Europe. There will be a lot of growth over the next 15-20 years and we want Inverness to benefit.
“This is a major long term investment.”
Planners have recommended that the scheme be approved by councillors, subject to planning conditions.
Case officer David Mudie said: “It is unusual to submit an application for enabling works relative to a future development, particularly a development of such a scale as the one proposed. However, the driver has been the need to provide confidence to the Norbord board that the site is in a position to be redeveloped to provide a new modern mill complex as and when investment decisions are being made.
“In other words, should this application be granted, Dalcross is likely to be in a stronger position to capitalise from investment. It is unlikely that these works will proceed if the investment in a new mill complex is not supported.”
It is hoped that an application to build the new factory will go before councillors by the end of the year.