ENCE to double production of proposed Uruguay mill

Jan. 26, 2007 - Spain’s Ence this week announced plans to double the production of its proposed US$1.25 billion pulp mill in Uruguay, increasing annual pulp capacity from 500,000 tons to one million tons.

Originally, Ence had sought to locate the mill in Fray Bentos, but reconsidered the plan due to the construction of Metsa-Botnia's pulp mill also in Fray Bentos. The Botnia mill has been the source of bitter disputes between Argentina and Uruguay.

Ence denied that the growing unrest between Argentina and Uruguay over Botnia's plant had anything to do with its decision to change the location of its mill, and that its re-thinking of the site was simply a matter of logistics.

“We are not relocating because of the conflict, we are relocating because, in terms of manufacturing processes, it is impossible to build two pulp mill in Fray Bentos,” Ence president Juan Luis Arregui said back in October.

Ence's Director for Latin America, Adolfo Suar, indicated that doubling the mill's pulp capacity would mean substantially increasing its need for raw material. "The fact that we are going to double production to a million tons means we'll have to expand our forested areas," said Suar, who emphasized that "as off 2009, the plant in Uruguay will be representing 50% of Ence's activities in the world."

Suar said that the mill's production process will be state-of-the-art and as environmentally-friendly as possible. He also said excess energy generated in the mill from woodchips biomass, estimated at 70 MW, will be sold to Uruguay’s energy grid.

The Uruguayan government has yet to give the green light to the project, pending results from environmental impact assessments.

SOURCE: MercoPress, other industry reports

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