SCA invests SEK 7.8 billion in the Östrand pulp mill. The new plant, which will be started in June 2018, will be a world-class facility in terms of product quality, environment and competitiveness.
It is one of the largest industrial investments made in Sweden and the largest ever in Norrland (Northern Sweden). SCA Östrand will double its production capacity from 430,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes (expandable to 1 million tonnes) and gain the largest production line for bleached softwood kraft pulp in the world.
The project has been entitled Helios, after the sun god in Greek mythology. Through Helios, Timrå and Norrland get a pulp mill which for future decades will create growth, employment and welfare in Norrland.
The Östrand pulp mill in Timrå municipality currently produces 430,000 tonnes of bleached softwood kraft pulp. Approximately half is used in SCA's own production of hygiene and printing paper. The remainder is sold to external customers. The demand for bleached softwood kraft pulp is immense and is based on a growing demand for tissue. Östrand also produces 95,000 tonnes of chemical thermomechanical pulp - CTMP - for among others hygiene and packaging products.
In order to double today's production requires a new cleaning shop where the timber is debarked and, a new evaporation unit, a new drying machine with two new baling lines, an expansion of the water purification plant, a new large bleaching works and a new large fibre line. The fibre line will be the largest in the world just for softwood. We will also be building a new operating centre.
The investment comprises nine different sub-projects. Each sub-project is extensive and will involve major logistical challenges. The main suppliers are Finnish Valmet and Austrian Andritz.
Regular production will continue during the whole project time. At most it is estimated that some 1500-2000 people will work at the plant at the same time, unlike today's 300 people. Under the construction period between four and five thousand F.T.E. will be worked at Östrand. A pulp mill is a process industry and the actual pulp mill will only need slightly more personnel in order to increase production. However, more people will be needed to work in the chain from the forest to the factory, partly by taking twice the volume of products to the customers.
The increased quantity of raw material will create 5-600 jobs in the forest and wood transport and increased handling of completed products will create 120 jobs.
SCA Östrand has a large environmental focus and environmental performance is important for our customers. Östrand will be equipped with the latest technology to minimise emissions and air and water. The new plant will be a leader in terms of resource management that generates an energy surplus that will be sold in the form of green electricity. The customers will be offered both TCF (total chlorine free) and ECF (elemental chlorine free) pulp produced with raw material from a sustainable forest.
The value of the forest is guaranteed
The doubling of kraft pulp production at the facility also means a doubling of the raw material requirement. SCA Östrand's raw material consists of wood (thinning timber) from a well-managed forest. Even the sawdust and chips left over at the SCA sawmill are used. SCA takes half of its raw material from its own forests and purchases the remainder.
Fully built-out the plant will consume 4.5 million m³f. We believe this level will be reached in around 2020, as the plant will be gradually run up from production start in June 2018.
SCA's substantial forest holding, 2.6 million hectares in northern Sweden, of which two million hectare is used for wood production, is administered based on a sustainable approach. Growth is over 20 per cent higher than harvesting, resulting in the forest binding large quantities of carbon dioxide, net, each year.
Some ten years ago in 2006, SEK 1.7 billion was invested in a new soda recovery boiler at Östrand. It was then that plans were laid to double the production of kraft pulp in the future.
Five years later half a billion SEK was invested in a new lime kiln. Both the soda recovery boiler and lime kiln are designed to accommodate an increase in production.
A comprehensive pilot study lies behind the decision to expand capacity. Since the summer of 2014 around 40 people have worked full time on the pilot study that formed the basis of the investment decision taken by the SCA Group Board in August 2015.