Ilim Group said that its Board of Directors has approved an investment of approximately US$700 million to build a new kraft pulp mill in Bratsk (Irkutsk Oblast), Russia.
Financing for the project is being arranged by Ilim's joint venture with International Paper.
According to Ilim, the project includes the construction of a modern cooking, washing and bleaching line, a new pulp drying machine, a new recovery boiler, a new bark boiler, a new woodyard and other infrastructure projects.
The new pulp line will have an annual capacity to produce 720,000 tons of bleached softwood market pulp, which will bring the overall pulp production at Bratsk to over 1 million tpy.
Ilim said that the project will modernize the entire Bratsk mill to be more competitive, with improved product quality and lower costs.
The mill's production will be oriented toward the Chinese market, Ilim added.
Engineering and construction will begin immediately.
Start up is expected in the second half of 2012.
"One of our key goals and main reasons to create the JV with International Paper, was investment program implementation," said Zakhar Smushkin, chairman of Ilim Group's Board of Directors.
"We have already finished building the world's largest neutral sulphite semi-chemical pulp mill in Koryazhma and invested in large-scale forest equipment in Siberia. We are now ready to start this new project at Bratsk, which will be the first new kraft pulp mill in Russia for thirty years. This investment at Bratsk will significantly improve the competitiveness of Ilim and the Russian forest, pulp and paper industry as a whole," Smushkin said.
Maximo Pacheco, president of IP Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Ilim Group Board member, said, "This strategic investment at Bratsk reinforces IP's commitment to Russia and will further strengthen our position as a supplier to China."
SOURCE: Ilim Group