SANDALWOOD is sometimes thought of as one of the most expensive woods in the world.
The wood is heavy, yellow, and finely grained, with a fragrance that is retained for decades.
Sandalwood oil is an extracted from the wood for use in fragrance products around the home, as well as in Chinese medicines.
The fragrance has been highly valued for centuries.
Sadly ‘over harvesting’ has meant shortages from time to time.
Sandalwood trees are found in the warmer parts of the world including, Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Nepal, though there are trees in Hawaii and northern Australia.
Sandalwood oil has soared in price recently going for as much as $3000 a litre and has become a black market item for loggers wanting to make quick money.
In the 1840’s, Sandalwood was Western Australia’s biggest export earner and enjoyed quite an industry.
But, why are we talking about Sandalwood trees and fragrances, you ask?
On a remote island in the Gulf of Carpentaria plans are underway to start growing Indian sandalwood trees commercially.
Evidently the Anindilyakwa land council is investigating economic opportunities for the community beyond mining.
‘Quintis’ the world’s largest producer of Indian sandalwood and has been growing sandalwood at Douglas Daily near Darwin for about eight years now and have about 2,500 hectares under cultivation.
The trees take around 15 years to grow and costs about $80,000 per hectare to plant, however when mature each hectare would be worth about $400,000.
So as a long-term money spinner it could be worth the effort.
After processing the high quality timber, it is trucked 3,500 kms to a facility at Mount Romance near Albany which is home to the world’s largest sandalwood oil distillery.
Lately it’s been fetching about $300,000 per ton on the global market.
Till next time.