In Chile, the Board of Directors of Chile-headed forest industry major Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion S.A. (ARAUCO) has approved the modernization and extension of its Arauco Mill, an initiative that involves a US$2.35 billion investment, the largest investment in the company’s history. This new stage of the project that started in 2012 will renew and increase pulp efficiency and production, in addition to strengthening ARAUCO’s competitiveness.
We’re very proud of this project’s materialization, because it accounts for the extensive and positive work that we’ve developed with the community and authorities. This is an enormously relevant project for the country and the Biobío Region, which will modernize and increase the production efficiency of our facilities. It will also strengthen the competitiveness and leadership of ARAUCO and Chile in global markets, said Charles Kimber, Senior Vice-President of Commercial & Corporate Affairs at ARAUCO.
At the production level, the project includes the termination of line 1, the modernization of current production line 2 and the construction of a new production line, line 3, with an annual capacity of 1.56 million tonnes, increasing the total annual pulp production at the complex by an estimated 2.1 million tonnes.
In addition, project MAPA – Modernización y Ampliación de la planta Arauco (Modernization and Extension of Arauco Mill) will allow the company to continue to generate clean and renewable energy from forest biomass, thanks to the construction of a new cogeneration boiler.
In addition to supplying clean energy to the mill, an energy surplus of 166 MWe will be delivered to the National Electrical Grid, through a power line whose construction is part of the project.
Also included in the project is the implementation of a training and education programme to support the creation of about 4 000 to 5 000 jobs during construction work, with a maximum of 8 000. Once construction is over, an estimated 1 000 job positions will be created, mainly in services and forestry activities. The purpose is to contribute to employment and invigorate local economy and development.
Additionally, the project includes a new wastewater treatment system that started construction in 2015, with an additional investment of US$120 million. According to ARAUCO, this system is 99 percent completed and will provide service to the current facilities and future line 3.
This project involves the largest investment program in the history of ARAUCO and we’ll develop it precisely in a commune where we maintain a very strong and long-lasting relationship because this is where this company started, said Kimber.
The road travelled thus far
In 2012, ARAUCO decided that the development of MAPA had to represent a real contribution to the territory; therefore, since the beginning, the project included an extensive investment programme in technology, infrastructure, equipment, production development, educati, n and culture.
In addition, an extensive citizen participation process was conducted, centered on three Open Houses where a volunteer program was developed to inform and communicate with neighbours located next to current operations and the project.
Other related projects are: the construction of Campus Arauco (a Dual Training Center developed with Duoc UC), the Arauco Cultural Center, equipment and infrastructure programmes under the Indigenous Consultation process, the Ecosystem Assessment Programme for the Arauco Gulf (PREGA in Spanish), the ARAUCO Housing Plan and communal initiatives agreed with the community.
Although the modernization of Arauco Mill started in 2015 with the construction of the new wastewater treatment system, the extension stage will begin in December this year and is estimated to start operating in late March 2021.
During this process, the company aims to create capacities, generate employment and invigorate the territory’s different production sectors, always complementing with state of the art technology and important environmental developments.