Stora Enso to convert paper mill into packaging board mill

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Renewable material firm Stora Enso has revealed plans to invest EUR 350 million (£309 million) to convert the Oulu paper mill in Finland into a packaging board mill.   

This investment includes converting paper machine 7 into a high-quality virgin-fibre based kraftliner production, and the closure of paper machine 6 and a sheeting plant.  

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Production on the converted machine is estimated to start by the end of 2020 and will target global export markets.  

The typical end uses for kraftliner are in packaging segments that require high strength, quality and purity, as well as heavy during packaging, said the firm. 

Stora Enso chief executive Karl-Henrik Sundström said: “The conversion of Oulu Mill will enable Stora Enso to further improve its position in the growing packaging business and take a major step forward in its transformation. We have proven competence in running large conversion projects successfully, as we have already converted one paper machine at Varkaus Mill to produce kraftliner.” 

The investment will include a new “world-class” line for virgin-fibre based kraftliner, with an annual capacity of 450,000 tonnes, modifications to the pulp mill, as well as investments to improve the mill’s environmental performance. 

This project will begin in the summer of 2019.  

The converted Oulu Mill will directly employ 180 people, and wood consumption at the mill will increase by 0.5 million m3 to 2.4 million m3 each year, said the company. 

Wood will be purchased mainly from private forest owners in Northern Finland. 

Stora Enso executive vice president packaging solutions division Gilles Van Nieuwenhuyzen said: “Economic growth, sustainability and food safety are key market drivers in the packaging business. This conversion will allow us to provide customers with an innovative kraftliner product with high-performance qualities in terms of strength, printability and food safety.” 

Paper production is expected to continue until the end of September 2020.  

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