Newly started Montes del Plata 1.3 million tonnes/year pulp mill in Punta Pereira, Uruguay, sends first exports to several Asian nations; shipment totals 21,000 tonnes; US$2B project also includes port and power generation unit using biomass

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay , July 6, 2014 () – The Montes del Plata paper plant, owned by Chile's Arauco and Swedish-Finnish firm Stora Enso, the construction of which was the largest private investment project in Uruguayan history, on the weekend sent its first export shipment to Asia, company executives said Sunday.

Construction began on the plant in mid-2011 and it was finished last April. In early June, it received its final environmental authorizations and two weeks ago it began producing cellulose paste.

The first export shipment of cellulose was for 21,000 tons and was sent to several Asian nations.

The paper plant, located in the Punta Pereira zone in Colonia province on the Rio de la Plata, will produce 1.3 million tons of cellulose per year from eucalyptus fiber coming from its plantations in 11 of the country's 19 provinces.

The project - which includes the cellulose plant, a power generation unit using biomass and a port via which to export the cellulose and receive supplies - required an investment of some $2 billion.

The company forecasts that the industrial complex will contribute $844 million to Uruguay's gross domestic product.

Besides Montes del Plata, Uruguay also has another cellulose plant in operation, this one owned by the Finnish firm UPM and located on the bank of the Uruguay River, which forms the border withArgentina.

The authorization to increase production at the UPM plant to 1.3 million tons per year a few weeks ago revived a bilateral conflict between Uruguay and Argentina. EFE

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(c) 2014 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

Industry Intelligence Inc. editor's note:  As reported July 6 in Industry Intelligence's weekly Market Pulp Roundup, an official with joint partner Celulosa Arauco y Constitución SA (Arauco) confirmed that his company’s first shipment to Asia was last week. 

He also said that because of the low prices of bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp (BEKP), Arauco’s pulp mill in Valdivia, Chile, has been producing only bleached radiata kraft pulp (BRKP) since March. Previously the mill was producing half BRKP and half BEKP, for a total of 550,000 tonnes/year. The mill’s permit restricts it to the production of no more than 550,000 tonnes/year but it has the capacity to produce more than that, so although softwood pulp yields are lower than those of hardwood pulp, the volume will still be 550,000 tonnes, he confirmed. As well, the mill can produce more energy that goes to the grid and can improve the company’s end results, he said.

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