The Minister for Economic Development, Michael Aird yesterday congratulated Norske Skog and BIS Industrial Logistics on the successful completion of the $50m Softwood Conversion Project and Integrated Woodchip Plant.
The project was officially opened by His Excellency, The Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of Tasmania.
Aird said the Tasmanian Government recognised the importance of the project to the State and provided a $10m loan to Norske Skog.
“In addition to this assistance, support was also provided through the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA) industry assistance program jointly administered by the Tasmanian and Australian Governments.
“The Softwood Conversion Project converts the Boyer site away from using eucalypt based cold caustic soda (CCS) processing lines to a new plantation softwood based thermo-mechanical pulp plant (TMP).
“The project involved investment of $27.6m by Norske Skog and a separate investment of $22.5m in an Integrated Woodchip Plant which will be owned and operated by BIS Industrial Logistics that is integral to the success of Norske Skog’s Softwood Conversion Project.”
Aird said the Boyer Mill has far reaching impacts on the Tasmanian and Australian economies, with annual production representing about 40% of the newsprint and related grades used in Australia each year.
“Ninety-seven per cent of this production is transported to interstate customers.
“It is also a major customer of the Tasmanian rail network and Bass Strait shipping. Each year the mill transports more than one million tonnes of finished product and raw materials.
“The mill’s annual contribution to Tasmania’s Gross State Product has been estimated at approximately $390m, and the employment creates more than 900 jobs, this includes 340 direct employees.
“The wood chipping facility will supply the entire feedstock requirement of Norske Skog’s new processes.”
Aird said the Government is committed to an environmentally sustainable and prosperous forest and forest products industry.
“The environmental benefits include a further 60% reduction in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) loading to the Derwent River; a 15% reduction in total CO2 emissions; 25% reduction in effluent volume per tonne of paper and% reduction in solid waste to landfill,” he said.