Long fibre pulp production is currently booming in Finland as a result of new investments and strong demand especially from the Asian packaging industry, creating interesting opportunities for international companies and investors. Pulp exports from Finland are expected to grow by 4-5% in 2017 and by an impressive 15–17% in 2018, according to Pellervo Economic Research, an independent applied economics research institute.
“In addition to major investment by established Finnish forest industry companies, there are currently three major bioproduct plant projects planned in Finland by new actors. Each project has attracted interest from international investors. This demonstrates the high level of interest in Finnish pulp as well as the capacity of the sector to renew itself,” says Vesa Koivisto, Head of Industry, Cleantech & Bio-economy at Finpro’s Invest in Finland.
Finland offers excellent conditions for pulp production thanks to its vast forest reserves and high-level technology and know-how. In April this year, Boreal Bioref Ltd. signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract with China CAMC Engineering Co., Ltd. (CAMCE) to build a biorefinery in Kemijärvi, Finnish Lapland.
KaiCell Fibers and Chinese textile industry giant CHTC Group signed an investment pre-agreement in Beijing on 29 June 2017, for establishing an Arbron™ plant in a new bioproducts mill that KaiCell Fibers is planning to construct in Paltamo, Northern Finland, in an investment worth EUR 900-1000 million. According to the companies’ joint statement, “Using new technology developed in Finland, KaiCell targets to produce Arbron™ as an intermediate viscose raw material that can be used by existing plants in a way that bypasses and eliminates health and environmentally problematic stages. This means that existing viscose plants can produce an environmentally friendly viscose, and they can do it at competitive cost.”
Metsä Group inaugurates bioproduct mill
Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö inaugurated Metsä Group next-generation, EUR 1.2 billion bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Central Finland, on 18 October 2017. The mill is the largest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. With a nominal capacity of 1.3 million tonnes, the mill will make Metsä Group the world’s largest producer of softwood market pulp.
According to Metsä Group, the mill is a leading facility globally in terms of energy efficiency. It uses no fossil fuels and has a bioelectricity self-sufficiency rate of 240%. The mill will also serve as a platform for the manufacture of bioproducts, including product gas, sulphuric acid, biogas and biofuel pellets. Key bioproduct development projects include lignin products, textile fibres and biocomposites. Japanese company ITOCHU Corporation is involved in the development of textile fibres from softwood pulp at Äänekoski.
Stora Enso invests EUR 94 million
Finnish company Stora Enso announced on 25 October 2017 that it is investing EUR 52 million to increase the dissolving pulp production capacity at Enocell Mill and EUR 42 million to enhance the availability of chemi-thermomechanical pulp (CTMP) at Imatra Mills. Both mills are located in Finland.