JSE-listed Sappi has announced plans to “significantly” expand its dissolving wood pulp (DWP) capacity by 2020, starting with the preparatory work for the potential expansion of its Saiccor DWP mill.
The company aims to increase the mill’s capacity by up to 250 000 t/y to meet strong projected demand growth.
“Building on the previously announced debottlenecking investments, which will increase the Saiccor mill’s capacity by 10 000 t/y by the end of 2018, work has also started at increasing the chipping capacity and modernising the Saiccor mill’s wood yard,” Sappi said in a statement on Friday.
The new equipment for the wood yard is scheduled to be delivered and installed at the end of 2018, with start-up planned for January 2019.
“Sappi is also busy with the preparatory work to enable it to initiate the prerequisite environmental-impact assessment process to study potential impacts, gather community input and model new technology benefits of the proposed 250 000 t/y expansion, which would increase the Saiccor mill’s total capacity to over one-million tonnes a year,” Sappi said.
The company is also in the process of expanding its DWP capacity at its Ngodwana mill by 50 000 t/y through debottlenecking projects, with completion expected by August 2018.
“At our Cloquet mill [in the US], we are completing a study regarding the expansion of pulping capacity within our existing permit limits, maintaining our ability to make either DWP or kraft pulp,” it added.
The expansion is envisaged to enable DWP production to expand by around 30 000 t/y and could be brought on line by mid-2019.