Metsä Fibre Plans to Build $1 Billion Next-generation Bio-product Mill in Äänekoski, Finland

In addition to high-quality pulp, the proposed mill, which would be built in the existing mill area in Äänekoski, Finland (above), will produce bio-energy and various bio-materials in a resource-efficient way.

April 24, 2014 - Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is planning to build a bio-product mill in the existing mill area in Äänekoski, Finland. When materialized, the approximately EUR 1.1 billion investment would be the largest ever investment in the forest industry in Finland. The new mill with an annual pulp production capacity of 1.3 million tonnes is planned to be operational in 2017.

The new mill will be the world's first next-generation bio-product mill that can convert wood raw material into a diverse range of products. In addition to high-quality pulp, the mill will produce bio-energy and various bio-materials in a resource-efficient way. A unique bio-economy ecosystem of companies will be built around pulp production.

The annual impact of the investment on the Finnish economy will be over EUR 0.5 billion and it will provide 2,500 jobs in the forest industry value chain. The annual increase in the value of exports is estimated to be EUR 0.5 billion.

"Our new mill will be the most efficient and modern bio-product mill in the world. The global increase in the demand for high-quality softwood pulp is the most important driver for the investment, and our aim is to strengthen our leading position in this market. The investment will support Metsä Fibre's growth and improve profitability in the long term," says Kari Jordan, President and CEO of Metsä Group.

"In addition to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and environmental permit processes, the development of the world economy and especially the economic development in Asia, market outlook and decisions related to for example wood supply, permits and logistics, will affect the final decision."

The bio-product mill will contribute to achieving renewable energy targets in Finland through increasing the share of renewable energy by approximately two percentage points. Furthermore, the mill will not use any fossil-based fuels; all of the energy required for it will be generated from wood. The wood raw material and side streams will be utilised 100 per cent as products and bio-energy.

The mill will increase the consumption of fibre wood in Finland by approximately 4 million cubic metres (some 10 per cent) per year. The annual harvesting of softwood can be increased sustainably by approximately 7 million cubic metres, and birch fibre by 4 million cubic metres. The fibre wood will be procured mainly in Finland.

Metsä Fibre will launch the EIA and environmental permit processes immediately with the aim to have them completed during the first quarter of 2015. The final investment decision is planned to be made in early 2015, in which case the new mill would become operational during 2017.

Metsä Fibre is part of Metsä Group and owned by the parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative (50.2 per cent), Metsä Board Corporation (24.9 per cent) and Itochu Corporation (24.9 per cent).

SOURCE: Metsä Group