Statement of principles catalyst for Tasmanian pulp mill project
Australian forest company Gunns Ltd, which is planning to build a new giant pulp mill on the Australian island of Tasmania, possibly in collaboration with Swedish Södra, welcomes a historic forest statement of principles, which was announced yesterday.
The statement is intended to end the long-running conflict between the industry and environmental groups by implementing an immediate moratorium on logging high conservation value forests.
The principles set out a framework to reach an agreement that would eventually end native forest logging in Tasmania and transition to a plantation-based industry.
Gunns’ CEO, Greg L’Estrange, told Australian media yesterday that the agreement is a momentous step and is aligned with Gunns’ existing strategy of moving towards becoming a fully plantation-based company. The statement also recognizes the importance of a pulp mill as part of the creation of a strong, sustainable, plantation timber industry.
“These principles will lead to certainty for the environment and certainty for continued jobs, with the acknowledgment that the construction of a pulp mill and the jobs it will create is critical to the transition to a plantation-based industry,” Greg L’Estrange said.
“A plantation-based industry is fundamental for the future of the forest industry in Tasmania, and an important part of that modern industry is the Bell Bay pulp mill,” he said.
It is known, as Papernet earlier has reported, that one condition for Södra’s involvement in the Bell Bay pulp mill project is that the mill will be supplied with 100 percent plantation-grown wood. Another condition is TCF bleaching (total chlorine free bleaching).
The planned pulp mill will have a capacity of approximately 1.1 million tons per year.