Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is building a new bioproduct mill to Kemi, Finland. The value of the investment is EUR 1.6 billion and it is the largest investment ever made by the Finnish forest industry in Finland. The mill will be started-up as planned at the third quarter of 2023.
Kemi bioproduct mill will increase the annual value of Finland’s exports by approximately EUR 0.5 billion, and the positive annual income effect in Finland from wood sales and domestic purchases will also be approximately EUR 0.5 billion. The new bioproduct mill will secure the 250 jobs in the existing pulp mill in Kemi for decades to come. All in all, around 500 persons work in the Metsä Group’s Kemi mill site.
The Finnish companies have been competitive, and the Kemi bioproduct mill project’s degree of Finnish origin will be very high, approximately 70%. During the construction phase, the employment impact will be nearly 10,000 person-years and more than half of it will be located in Kemi. The number of individual persons working in the mill area during the construction phase is estimated to be around 15,000.
Wood required by the mill will be procured from sustainably managed forests, and the origin of the wood is known. The Kemi bioproduct mill will use approximately 7.6 million cubic metres of pulpwood a year, which is 4.5 million cubic metres more than the current pulp mill in Kemi. Wood will be procured mainly from Finland. The availability of high-quality wood raw material is supported by the strong owner base of Metsäliitto Cooperative.
The way Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, renews its mills is based on the company’s unique bioproduct mill concept, the core of which is the resource-wise use of the wood raw material and side streams of production. In the concept, the renewable wood raw material and production side streams are used in full as different bioproducts, thus replacing fossil-based materials and fossil fuels. The first totally new mill using the concept is the Äänekoski bioproduct mill that was started in 2017.
The Kemi bioproduct mill will produce some 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts. It will also produce 2.0 TWh of renewable electricity per year, which equals to roughly 2,5 percent of Finnish total electricity production and together with Äänekoski bioproduct mill roughly 5 per cent. The new mill will replace the current pulp mill in Kemi, which has reached the end of its lifespan.
The Kemi bioproduct mill will be built using the best available technology (BAT). The technological level meets and even exceeds the EU BREF requirements. Despite the clearly increased production compared with the current Kemi pulp mill, the new bioproduct mill will stay below the emission limits of the current environmental permit of the existing mill. The environmental impacts will be minimised, and noise control, for example, has already been taken into consideration during the pre-engineering phase, both regarding construction and production of the mill. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Northern Finland granted the environmental and water supply permits to the Kemi bioproduct mill in December 2020.
The main partners for the construction project are Valmet, ABB, AFRY and Fimpec. The project will be implemented as buyer-driven subcontracting, which also allows for the participation of smaller companies. For local businesses, the mill investment will create demand directly related to the mill construction. In addition, the services used by the people working for the project will significantly increase the demand for services in the Kemi region.
Of the total investment to the Kemi bioproduct mill, EUR 1.6 billion, 40% is financed with domestic equity and 60% with debt financing. The debt financing primarily consists of EUR 500 million 10 year-loan guaranteed by Finnvera with an 80% risk share, EUR 200 million 10-year loan guaranteed by the Swedish Eksportkreditnämnd (EKN) with a 95% risk share, EUR 200 million 15-year loan by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and EUR 100 million five-year Green Term Loan with eight commercial banks. In addition, Metsä Fibre has renewed the EUR 200 million revolving credit facility (RCF) maturing in June 2021 with a similar and five-year arrangement, the financing margin of which is tied to the company’s key sustainability indicators.