Arauco considering modernization, expansion of eucalyptus market pulp line in Arauco, Chile; decision to be made in H1 2012

LOS ANGELES , August 18, 2011 () – Celulosa Arauco y Constitución SA (Arauco) has begun an internal process to study the feasibility of modernizing and expanding the bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp (BEKP) line (“Line 1”) at its market pulp mill in Arauco, Chile, a company official told Forestweb.

It expects to have details toward the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter of 2012, he said.

Line 1’s current capacity is 290,000 tonnes per year; the official did not indicate what size of capacity expansion might be involved.

Separately, Reuters reported on Aug. 17 that Arauco has forecast that it will produce 3 million tonnes of pulp in 2011, up from 2.3 million tonnes in 2010, when the company lost significant production following the Feb. 28, 2010, earthquake that struck Chile.

The Line 2 mill in Arauco, which has a bleached radiata kraft pulp (BRKP) capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year, was the company’s last pulp mill to restart. It came up in February of this year after extensive repairs.

As reported on Aug. 11, production in 2011 at Arauco’s Nueva Aldea mill in the Bio Bio region has been reduced to 867,000 tonnes/year from 940,000 tonnes/year because of a four-week debottlenecking project now underway to expand the mill’s capacity to 1.04 million tonnes/year.

With the completion of the Nueva Aldea project, Arauco will have a total market pulp capacity of about 3.3 million tonnes/year.

Also, Arauco and Finland’s Stora Enso Oyj are joint partners in the 1.3 million tonnes/year Montes del Plata BEKP mill in Conchillas, Uruguay, now under construction and expected to be operating by the first quarter of 2013.

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