The facility will either be modernised, or it will be replaced with an entirely new bioproduct mill. The study is focusing on the availability of wood raw material, and on development needs and prospects for local industrial infrastructure and logistical connections.
“Studying the availability of wood is a top priority, as the annual wood consumption of a new bioproduct mill would be substantially greater than that of the current facility at about 6.7 million cubic metres. Obviously the entire supply chain from the forest to the mill and onwards to the customer would need to be reliable and cost-effective as well,” explains Project Director Timo Merikallio, who also took charge of designing and building the recently opened bioproduct mill in Äänekoski.
Merikallio also stresses the importance of valuable experience gained in completing the previous mill construction project on time and on budget: “The Äänekoski project went very smoothly, so we are sure to apply many aspects of the same basic approach in Kemi, even though special factors such as the slightly different climate at this more northerly location may affect our planning.”
A timely investment
The preferred implementation option is to build a new bioproduct mill if all requirements are satisfied. The name Polar King has been chosen for this new facility at the suggestion of the local staff, as it will serve as a consort to the Polar Queen paperboard machine already operating in Kemi.
“If a decision is taken to build a new mill, then we shall embark on a predesign phase and issue a further decision to launch an environmental impact assessment and associated permit application procedures. Construction proper would begin after the investment decision and take more than two years, meaning that the new plant could begin operating by no sooner than the end of 2022,” Merikallio explains.
The alternative overall option for Kemi is to extend the life span of the current mill by modernising several departments while maintaining current manufacturing capacity and wood consumption levels.
“The most important goal is to respond to the growing demand for pulp, ensuring the required supply through efficient and sustainable production capacity. The Kemi operation has reached a point in its life cycle where it is time to invest in maintaining our status as a frontrunner in the industry.”