Gunns Hustles a Proposed Pulp Mill As Clean and Green

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In December 2004 Gunns announced that it was proceeding with plans to build a major pulp mill based on Tasmania's forests. Days earlier Gunns' had announced a SLAPP suit against 17 individuals and 3 organisations. On its special website established for the pulp mill project Gunns claims that the proposal will be "the world's greenest pulp mill".

However, as part of the proposal Gunns' are requesting 30 years access to the native forests of Tasmania and the pulp process will use 26 billion litres of water every year and discharge 30 billion litres of effluent into Bass Strait. Gunns Revised Project Scope

"As part of its commitment to value adding and international best practice, Gunns Limited is proposing the development of a pulp mill in Tasmania utilising the best global technology," it states. [1]

Gunns have communicated to shareholders that "The project provides an ability for the Company to obtain an increase in the value of pulpwood through accessing the pulp market in addition to its current woodchip markets."Gunns annual report 2005 This in contradiction to Tasmanian government claims that "It will use woodchips that are otherwise exported."[2]

Gunns proposed pulp mill has been described as a highly risky investment [3] (PDF)

A recent report Financing Pulp Mills: An Appraisal of Risk Assessment and Safeguard Procedures by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)the report states that investors and lenders are failing to properly assess the financial risks behind pulp mill projects around the globe. The report states that "Pulp mills require special attention for a number of reasons: First, the enormous scale of modern pulp mills means that they consume very substantial volumes of wood. A single BHKP mill with an annual capacity of 1.0 million tonnes, for instance, will typically require between 4.5 – 5.0 million cubic meters of roundwood per year – roughly equivalent to 15 percent of the total annual timber harvest from the Brazilian Amazon. Large-scale pulp mills can also place considerable pressures on natural forests when production capacity is installed before supporting plantations are brought online, as prior CIFOR research in Indonesia has shown. In countries or regions with poor forest governance, demand for pulpwood can be a significant factor driving illegal logging. Plantation development, too, is often associated with displacement of forest communities and social conflicts."

Websites on the Proposed Pulp Mill

Other SourceWatch resources

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Tasmanian Government statements

Federal Government statements

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