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Metsä Group commences start up of Kemi bioproduct mill and paperboard mill

Metsä Group commences start up of Kemi bioproduct mill and paperboard mill
The largest investment of the forest industry in Finland – the new Metsä Kemi bioproduct mill and the paperboard mill expansion – came into operation as planned on September 20, 2023 (photo courtesy Metsä Group).

Finland headed forest industry major Metsä Group has commenced start-up operations of what is said to be Finland's largest forest industry investment to date – the new Kemi bioproduct mill and the paperboard mill expansion.

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The operations will start department by department. Pulp deliveries from the new mill to customers will begin in October 2023.

Metsä Group’s products replace fossil materials in people’s daily lives. Pulp and paperboard are used as raw materials for numerous consumer goods, and we are able to produce them in Kemi with considerably lower emissions. Finland needs sustainable investment that creates employment, income, and a strong belief in the future, said Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä Group.

The Kemi bioproduct mill has a nameplate capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp annually. It uses zero fossil fuels and will be completely waste-free by 2030.

Featuring cutting-edge technology, the mill operates a fully-fledged circular economy, as all the wood raw material and production side streams are efficiently used for various bioproducts and bioenergy.

Major green power supplier

For example, the mill produces tall oil and turpentine, as well as 2 TWh of renewable electricity per year – approximately 2.5 percent of Finland’s total electricity production.

The bioproduct mill will use 7.6 million m3 of wood per year, 4.5 million m3 more than the old mill. The wood supply will be based on regenerative forestry with the aim of achieving a verifiable improvement in the state of nature by 2030.

The modernization and bottleneck investments made in Kemi paperboard mill will increase the annual production capacity of white top kraftliner by around 40,000 tonnes to 465,000 tonnes.

This increase will further strengthen the Kemi mill’s position as the world’s largest producer of coated white-top kraftliners, whose products are used worldwide as a surface material for corrugated packaging.

Lower environmental footprint

Thanks to its efficient chemical cycles and other environmentally efficient solutions, the new mill’s emissions are lower than the limits specified in the currently valid environmental permit for the closed Kemi pulp mill, despite the considerable increase in production capacity.

The integration of the bioproduct mill and the paperboard mill, as well as the modernization of the paperboard mill’s production line, will considerably improve the paperboard mill’s water and energy efficiency.

The investments will reduce the mill’s water consumption by 40 percent and energy use by 5 percent per tonne of paperboard produced.

Metsä Group’s completed, ongoing, and planned investments since 2015 total approximately EUR 7 billion.

The investments enable the company to better meet the needs of forest owners and customers across the forest industry’s value chain and contribute to climate change mitigation.

Energy efficiency, a smaller environmental load, and the bioproduct mill’s fossil-free operations support Metsä Group’s and its customers’ sustainability targets.

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