The public event organised by Metsä Group in Kemi attracted a large audience, over one hundred people, interested in the bioproduct mill project.
Project Director Jari-Pekka Johansson brought welcomed news to Kemi: the project is proceeding according to the plans and schedules. It started last spring and the final investment decision will be made at the earliest in summer 2020, when the pre-engineering project will come to an end.
In addition to eighteen people already working on the project, 13 more people have started to work on it besides their current positions in Metsä Group and Botnia Mill Service. They will further strenghten the main equipment negotiations which is one of the main tasks during the on-going pre-engineering.
– All those involved in the pre-engineering are skilled professionals who have a strong experience in the forest industry or large-scale industrial projects, both at home and abroad, says Johansson.
– After the investment decision the whole project organisation would move from Espoo headquarters to the old headquarters of the Kemi mill in Karihaara, Johansson revealed.
As an example of the pre-engineering project's results Johansson showed the public a brand new illustration of the mill, that had not previously been made public. The new traffic arrangements planned for Sahansaarenkatu, which were of great interest to Kemi residents, were clearly visible in the new illustration. Likewise, the public drew attention to the noise barns that Metsä Fibre decided to build at the mill on the basis of feedback from the local people. There is no obligation to build a barn, as the noise from the mill does not exceed the permitted limits.
In the new illustration of Metsä Group's Kemi bioproduct mill, all departments are in their final locations, and only minor changes may still occur.
In addition to the news concerning the strengthening the organisation working on pre-engineering project, advancing main equipment negotiations, and the new illustration, there were plenty of other news too. The new mill needs efficient and safe logistics for roads, railways and the harbor. The city of Kemi is therefore in the process of planning Sahansaarenkatu, and Port of Kemi has submitted a water permit application for the dredging of Ajos harbor together with Väylävirasto.
– Safe and efficient logistics from forest to mill and from mill to customer is crucial for operating the mill, says Johansson.
There is also plenty of work taking place on the mill site. The preparatory work commenced in July 2019 will end in January 2020. This work will ensure a smooth start of the construction of the new mill immediately after the potential investment decision. The basic design of the new 110 kV power line has already been completed and a redemption permit which would allow the construction of the line, is now expected from the Government.
An environmental permit for the mill is expected in early 2020. Currently, the environmental permit application is being processed by Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland (AVI) and the environmental impact assessment in Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY).
In addition, partners are currently being mapped out for the construction of the mill, with the subcontracting day held in November in Kemi being a success: 220 people from 180 different companies attended and 100 more people queued up. Another subcontracting day will be held 5th-6th February 2020, and it is equally popular: the event filled up long before the registration deadline. It now seems that Metsä Fibre is organising a third subcontracting day during the spring for companies still interested in co-operation.
Debate on forestry
CEO Ismo Nousiainen also gave his own greetings and talked about Metsä Fibre's operations, responsibility and investments.
He emphasized the importance of sustainable development. The aim is to increase the value of Finnish forests, to reduce the use of fossil fuels and to increase the carbon sequestration of long-lived wood products.
A large audience listened with interest to CEO Ismo Nousiainen's presentation on Metsä Fibre's operations. The next public event concerning the new mill will be held in half a year's time in Kemi.
Finally, Juha Mäntylä, Director of Forestry, spoke about sustainable wood procurement. He mentioned the important role of rail transport in the timber transport. Nine trains and 180 timber trucks would bring wood to the mill daily.
Mäntylä also emphasized the role of forests as carbon sinks.
- The carbon sequestration depends on how well the forest grows. The key is how we keep forest growth as good as possible, Mäntylä outlined.
After the presentations audience wanted to talk about issues such as possible EU regulations for the forest industry, and particularly sustainable forest management. They also wanted to hear more details about the new traffic arrangements and their effects.
Thanks from the audience
Jouko Uusitalo, who has been an entrepreneur in Kemi for 40 years, said after the event that he was pleased with what he had heard.
- This was a very detailed but clear presentation. The new mill would give our area the boost wehave been waiting for. It gives people faith, Uusitalo said.
Also Riitta Rauma, who came to the event with her husband Voitto, praised the interesting presentations.
- We have been following the project from the beginning and have welcomed it here warmly. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we would like to see the community develop, Rauma said.
Kemi-based Marko Leskio came to the event to update his information of the project.
- I respect the organisation of public events and the opportunity for us to influence matters. As a citizen, I think this is even quite exceptional.
Long-term entrepreneur Jouko Uusitalo hopes that the new mill will stop the long-running population decline in Kemi.
Voitto and Riitta Rauma attended a public event organised by Metsä Group for the second time. They hope the mill will improve employment in the area and raise value of the houses.
Marko Leskio (light blue sweater) has been following the project closely from the beginning. He believes the mill, if realised, would turn Kemi's financial curves upward, as has happened in Äänekoski.