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UPM restarts work on construction of new pulp mill in Uruguay

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UPM restarts work on construction of new pulp mill in Uruguay

May 26, 2020 - 04:41
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UPM restarted construction work on its new 2.1 million tonne/yr bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp mill in Paso de los Toros in Uruguay on April 13.

Authorities, companies and unions in the country reached an agreement on Covid-19 safety measures that allowed construction workers to resume activities, PPI Europe’s sister publication PPI Latin America reported.

UPM suspended construction work on the project in late March as the number of coronavirus cases in Latin America began to climb. The firm did not comment on how the suspension of work might impact the scheduled start-up timeline of second half 2022.

In a statement issued recently, UPM said it was taking measures to bolster the general safety measures agreed for the construction sector. “Controls on access to construction sites will be intensified with new access points and more work shifts to reduce [the] concentration of workers at any one time. The existing measures for social distancing will be further strengthened to reduce contact between individuals covering work activities, lunch service, transportation and accommodation,” the firm said.

The firm is also activating a special protocol should a worker be suspected of having or is diagnosed with the virus. “Following the guidelines of the Uruguayan health authorities, workers with symptoms shall remain at home and consult their health care institution,” UPM said. For workers temporarily living outside their hometown, the firm will provide emergency medical service. “The return to work after a diagnosis with Covid-19 will only be allowed upon presentation of medical discharge. Workers who were in contact with a person diagnosed with Covid-19 and could eventually become infected will go into quarantine. After a quarantine a medical discharge is requested to return to the workplace,” the firm said.

The project employs 947 people at construction sites in Paso de los Toros, Pueblo Centenario and Durazno City. A total of 477 of those are local residents from the region, including 376 from Paso de los Toros, with the remainder coming from different parts of Uruguay. There are also 70 workers from outside the country who have been in Uruguay since before the health emergency began.