Sappi Ltd, the South African headed global supplier of dissolving wood pulp (DWP), speciality and packaging papers, printing (graphic) papers and biomaterials has confirmed plans and ongoing projects to significantly increase DWP capacity by 2020. In particular, Sappi has started preparatory work for the potential expansion of its Saiccor DWP Mill to ensure that the company would be in a position to increase the mill’s capacity by up to 250 000 tpa to meet strong projected demand growth.
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Building on the previously announced debottlenecking investments which will increase the Saiccor Mill capacity by 10 000 tonnes per annum (tpa) by the end of 2018, work has also started at increasing the chipping capacity and modernising the Saiccor Mill wood yard.
The new equipment for the wood yard is scheduled to be delivered and installed at the end of 2018, with start-up planned for January 2019. The wood yard investments will result in cost, quality, environmental, and efficiency benefits to the Saiccor Mill and is also a major step towards preparing the Saiccor Mill to expand by a further 250 000 tpa.
Sappi is also busy with the preparatory work to enable it to initiate the pre-requisite environmental impact assessment (EIA) process to study potential impacts, gather community input, and model new technology benefits of the proposed 250 000 tpa expansion, which would increase the Saiccor Mill’s total capacity to over 1 million tpa.
The project has the potential to bring additional investments and jobs into the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa, increase foreign revenues for the country and further entrench South Africa as a global leader in forest products.
Sappi is also, as previously announced, in the process of expanding its DWP capacity at its Ngodwana Mill by 50 000 tpa through debottlenecking projects. This work is scheduled for completion by August 2018.
At its Cloquet Mill, Sappi is completing a study regarding the expansion of pulping capacity within existing permit limits, maintaining its ability to make either DWP or Kraft pulp. It is envisaged that such an expansion would have the capacity to increase DWP production by around 30 000 tpa and could be brought online by mid-2019.