MINSK (BelTA) - Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Mill will implement a new investment project to launch the production of paper packaging, which received a go-ahead during the government conference hosted by the head of state on 6 October to discuss the development of the woodworking industry, pulp and paper industry, head of the Bellesbumprom Concern Mikhail Kasko told reporters after the conference, BelTA has learned.
The Svetlogorsk plant is planning to install a kraft paper bag making machine with a capacity of 150,000-160,000 tonnes per year.
The paper will be used by small and medium-sized businesses to produce containers and packaging, for example, for powdered milk, dry building mixtures, cement,” Mikhail Kasko noted. Bellesbumprom estimates that this market is very promising and that the products will be in demand. Today [at the government conference with the president] we discussed the benefits of the project. This is not right that we export, in fact, semi-finished products in the form of pulp (although it is also cost-effective). We'd better process it into paper packaging and keep even more value added in the country,” he said.
The estimated cost of the paper-making machine is about €56 million (this sum, for example, is specified in the proposal of the Finnish company Valmet). The turnkey project is estimated at about €126 million which the plant is set to loan from Belarusbank.
Currently, the plant is drawing up a business plan in cooperation with the Finance Ministry and Belarusbank. "We expect to receive feedback from them soon and will submit a comprehensive proposal on the construction of this facility at the level of a decree of the head of state," Mikhail Kasko said.
He provided figures to explain the benefits of the new project. With pulp sold at the market for about $400-420 per tonne, the Belarusian company expects to earn $650 on packaging paper. “This is an additional $250 per tonne, which Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Mill will get to, among other thing, accelerate the repayment of investment loans,” he said.
The previous investment project at Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Mill is almost complete. The first start-up complex to produce bleached sulphate pulp was put into operation in January 2020. The line has so far made over 183,000 tonnes of commercial bleached sulphate pulp (60-70% of the design capacity). The second line to produce viscose pulp is to be commissioned soon. Preparation for the launch has already been carried out. Equipment just needs to be tested. “We will start producing viscose pulp in late October - early November,” said Mikhail Kasko.
He believes that the upgrade of the pulp and paper industry may become a new driver of growth in the sector, as it was the case with the modernization of board facilities. “They have given a boost to the furniture industry. Over the past five years, the number of furniture manufacturers in Belarus has doubled. Today, the pulp and paper industry can become a driver of growth as we process cardboard and paper into printing and packaging products,” Mikhail Kasko said.
Belarus news (BELTA)