"The Äänekoski bioproduct mill combines many of the megatrends of the future, in particular the circular economy, decarbonisation, energy efficiency, industrial symbiosis, as well as the ability to renew and innovate. The project will have a positive impact on overall economic confidence; it shows that Finland is able to look to the future and identify new opportunities. The EU's new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) has been supporting the bioproduct mill as part of an international funding package. I urge all interested parties to harness the opportunities offered by this investment programme. This won't require public funding or support. Private project owners and companies can apply for funding directly from the European Investment Bank already now," says Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission.
The bioproduct mill will produce pulp, other bioproducts and bioenergy. Construction began in April 2015, and the mill will be inaugurated in the third quarter of 2017.
"The bioproduct mill in Äänekoski is a significant investment in Metsä Group's competitiveness. It will improve our profitability over the long term and strengthen our position in the global market for northern softwood pulp. The bioproduct mill is a prime example of Metsä Group's and the Finnish forest industry's vitality and ability to renew. We are resolutely progressing towards the autumn of 2017, when the bioproduct mill begins operations," says Kari Jordan, President and CEO of Metsä Group.
The construction project has progressed on schedule and has reached the excavation and foundation stage according to plan. The bioproduct mill is being built on a plot of around 40 hectares next to the present pulp mill. The construction site currently employs around 250 people, mainly in piling, dredging, bridge construction and railway work. The mill will begin to rise rapidly towards the end of the year, when around 500 people will start installing prefabricated elements. Equipment installation will begin in early 2016, when as many as 2,500 people will be working on the construction site.
With a cost of approximately EUR 1.2 billion, the bioproduct mill in Äänekoski is the largest investment in the history of the forest industry in Finland. It will produce 1.3 million tonnes of pulp annually to be used as raw material for paperboard, tissue paper, printing paper and specialty products. All of the side streams from the bioproduct mill will be utilised in the ecosystem that will be formed by various companies around the mill.
Metsä Group is a responsible forest industry group whose products' main raw material is wood from northern, sustainably managed forests. Metsä Group focuses on tissue and cooking papers, fresh forest fibre paperboards, pulp, wood products, and wood supply and forest services. Its high-quality products combine renewable raw materials, customer-orientation, sustainable development and innovation. Metsä Group's sales totalled EUR 5 billion in 2014, and it employs approximately 9,800 people. The Group operates in some 30 countries. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 122,000 Finnish forest owners.
Metsä Fibre is a world-leading producer of softwood pulp and its main brand is Botnia. Our products - sustainably and cost-efficiently produced softwood and birch pulp - are specially developed for the production of high-quality tissue and writing papers, speciality products, and board. With four pulp mills in Finland, we employ a total of about 850 people. Our sales in 2014 were approximately EUR 1.3 billion. Metsä Fibre is part of Metsä Group.