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MTK union ready to push for a new pulp mill in Finland

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MTK union ready to push for a new pulp mill in Finland

April 11, 2014 - 08:56

BRUSSELS, April 8, 2014 (RISI) - The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) is convinced that Finland needs a new pulp mill and is willing to support the idea both financially and in terms of raw material supply, the Finnish newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reported.

According to the chairman of MTK's forest delegation Mikko Tiirola, MTK will make every effort for a new pulp mill to be established in the country and is prepared to take action to ensure the mill's wood supply, the article said. "If necessary, forest owners are ready to collect money according to the old model, going from house to house," Tiirola said.

In a previous article in Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, the strategic director at Finland's Ministry of Employment and the Economy Sixten Sunabacka was quoted as saying that a steadily increasing demand for pulp did not necessarily mean that a new "world-class" pulp mill will be built in Finland. Referring to that, Tiirola said a pulp mill of world class stature would produce approximately one million tonnes/yr of pulp, which would require some five million m³/yr of pulpwood. "The under-utilization of forests is a problem from central Finland northwards. A pulp mill of that scale would fit well there," Tiirola said, according toMaaseudun Tulevaisuus.In a letter to the editor published in the same newspaper, Sunabacka clarified his view on the matter. He stated that he firmly believes in the future of pulp, but underlined that there are also other opportunities for the country to use its wood resources as well and that it is not necessarily worth striving to establish a one million tonne/yr plus pulp mill. "In our forests there are pulpwood, logs and energy wood. Therefore, we need to increase the diverse use of wood as well as investments that increase the production of pulp but at the same time also target the production of completely new, higher value-added products," Sunabacka wrote.

The idea of a new pulp mill in Finland was broached by director-general of the Department of Forestry at Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Juha Ojala when addressing the European Forest Week meeting in December last year.

Since then, there has been considerable speculation in Finnish media about whether this would actually be realistic, where such a mill might be built and who could do so. For example, a politician recently suggested that preparatory work should be made for a pulp mill in the region of Kainuu in east-central Finland, according to the local newspaper Kuhmolainen. So far, however, the speculation remains theoretical.