Building the large pulp mill in the Emajõgi River region of Tartu County would eliminate the plant's dependence on the amount of wood cut in Estonia, said Margus Kohava, a member of the management board of Est-For Invest, the company to build a €1 billion high-tech pulp plant.
"We have dubbed the planned factory the Livonia project," Kohava said in a press release. "Looking at the forest map, the best location would be north of Valga, but there is no river nor that good of access to an educated workforce there."
The management board member noted that they would need to consider that the factory would employ 200 people, most of whom would be specialists in natural and exact sciences. "The factory would need to be located in the immediate vicinity of the workforce market, which is why the Suur-Emajõgi region is the best choice," he explained.
Kohava also believed that transport links would be just as important. "Equally important is the location of railways and highways in the near vicinity of the factory," he added.
The economic impact assessment of the planned wood refining plant has taken into account the possibility of importing wood from Latvia and Belarus.
"According to data from the Environment Agency, the existing prescribed cuts are adequate," said Kohava. "But the effective life cycle of the planned plant is 30 years; that is a long time. We must consider what will happen when the limit on prescribed cuts in Estonia is lowered. This is why it is important that the plant is ocated in the immediate vicinity of a railway line as we need to be able to control the quantity imported ourselves."
The board member said that it is customary for this kind of project to import timber. "Ten years ago, the Finnish pulp and wood industry imported approximately 16 million cubic meters of roundwood from Rusia alone," he highlighted. "The quantity imported decreased notably meanwhile due to the customs duty imposed by Russia, but this number is on the rise again now. It is customary for some of the processed timber to be imported from abroad."
The largest potential source of raw material for the planned plant would be Russia, but according to Russian export policy, the import of pulpwood from Russia to Estonia would not be possible in the foreseeable future, which is why the socio-economic impact assessment of the plant sees Latvia and Belarus as the primary countries from which to import.
Est-For is planning on building a €1 billion euro pulp mill near Tartu in Southern Estonia, capable of processing approximately 2.5-3.3 million tons of pulpwood annually for export. At the beginning of 2017, the company sent a letter to Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb in which it stated that it would only build the pulp mill in the vicinity of the Emajõgi River in Tartu County.
Editor: Aili Vahtla