The move follows the successful completion of a six-month feasibility study that tested the commercial viability of a green energy centre on the site. The study indicates the creation of a 17-megawatt generating capacity biomass fuelled energy centre with an integrated wood pelleting plant capable of processing 250,000 tonnes of locally sourced timber, annually.
The study also indicates the creation of 150 direct and indirect jobs in maintenance, forestry and transportation
Commenting on the exclusivity agreement, International Paper's Vice President of European Papers, Eric Chartrain, said:
"We are pleased to have reached this important stage in the proposed reindustrialisation of our former mill site that has the potential to create new manufacturing jobs in the locality. Our agreement suggests that detailed plans will be presented to the appropriate authorities, seeking a determination by the end of the year."
Integrated Energy Systems International Limited carried out the Inverurie site feasibility study and is a recognised leader in the delivery of green energy centres.
The development footprint of the proposed green energy centre occupies approximately 70% of the former operational land of the mill.
The remaining 30% of the operational land comprises a 25,000 sq ft headquarter office building and 350,000 sq ft of former paper stores, suitable for manufacturing, distribution or whisky bond use. Colliers CRE will market this part of the site internationally. The non operational land holding totalling a further 100 acres is being developed in association with the Kilbride Group for a proposed Business Park.