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Finnpulp granted environmental permit for greenfield bioproduct mill

In Finland, the Regional State Administrative Agency has granted the environmental permit for Finnpulp's bioproduct plant, which is to be built in Sorsasalo, Kuopio, and the facility's wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The environmental permit defines the terms for the pulp plant's operation in the production phase, as well as for pipeline installation work and changes made to the shoreline during the construction phase.

A 3D rendering of Finnpulp’s planned 1.2 million tonne-per-annum softwood pulp mill in Finland. If completed as planned, it will be the world’s largest softwood pulp. In the project phase, the employment effect of the EUR 1.4 billion facility investment is 5 700 full-time work years. Once completed, the bioproduct plant is to create 1 500 new permanent jobs in Northern Savonia and 3 400 in the national value chain. Once production starts, 200 people will work in the plant area. The plant will use 6.7 million m3 of pulpwood annually (image courtesy Finnpulp).

Founded in 2013, Finnpulp Oy is a special purpose entity to manage the investment of a new world-class softwood pulp mill in Finland. Apart from the management team, investors in the estimated EUR 1.4 billion greenfield project include Grizzly Hills Capital Oy and MTK ry.

Production is planned to start in 2020, and the plant’s annual production capacity will be 1.2 million tonnes of softwood pulp. Additionally, the plant will produce other bioproducts, including 60 000 tonnes of tall oil and 1.5 TWh of bioelectricity annually of which 1 TWh will be fed into the national grid.

Finnpulp considers the terms of the permit to be strict. The authorities have further tightened the low levels presented in the company’s permit application, which already met the EU’s best practice requirements for the industry. Finnpulp says that it will “carefully contemplate” how to achieve the permit terms.

Efficiency with a digital ecosystem

According to Finnpulp, its “Intelligent Bioproduct Plant” will be the world’s first of its kind designed and realized from the very beginning with new digital systems and artificial intelligence. The digital ecosystem will be built together with leading operators in the field.

The Intelligent Bioproduct Plant concept will give competitive advantages in managing raw material and production, plant utilities, efficiency as well as in production and quality optimization. In addition, it improves personnel safety and maintaining stringent environmental control.

In September 2016, Kuopio city council accepted the change of city plan for Sorsasalo industrial area enabling a property for Finnpulp bioproduction facility and a property agreement between the city and Finnpulp.

The granting of an environmental permit is an important milestone for the project and Finnpulp will continue with investor negotiations and proceed with basic plant design. The investment decision is expected in the second half of 2018.

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