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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This page contains frequently asked questions about the project.

What will the Paltamo mill produce?

Our principal product will be chemical sulphate pulp from softwood (pine and spruce), also known as NBSK (Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft). A smaller portion (about 15 %) will be chemical pulp from hardwood (birch), also known as BHKP (Bleached Hardwood Kraft Pulp). Both will be produced from the region’s local fibre wood on a single state-of-the-art pulping line.

What will be the production capacity of the mill?

The projected annual capacity is 600 000 ADMT (air dried metric tonnes) of pulp production, split approximately 85/15 softwood/hardwood.

How does the mill secure its supply of fibre wood?

ProxiWood procurement concept: Wood sourced locally from managed forests. Also reduces transport distance and CO2-emissions.

What kind of wood is used?

The mill uses pulp wood mainly from young and middle-aged commercial forests. Thinning ensures healthy growth of forests. In the harvesting process, pine, spruce and birch are combined as the forests are natural. This is why it is imperative that part (15%) of the mill’s production is hardwood pulp.

Are there enough forest resources available in the Kainuu region?

At present, only about half of the annual growth of the forest in Kainuu region is harvested (Source: LUKE).  Because of current low pulp wood demand, thinning is being neglected. Increased thinning and cutting will benefit both the forest growth and the regional economy.

How much wood will be needed?

The mill will use about 3.5 million m3 wood raw material annually. The total forest annual growth in Kainuu is 6.9 million m3. This includes sawlogs, pulp wood and commercial round wood size energy wood.  In addition to the forest sourced fibre wood, the mill will use woodchips generated as byproducts by sawmills.

What share of wood will come from certified forests?

About a quarter of Kainuu’s forest land is excluded from commercial utilisation through protection and conservation.  Over 90 % of the commercially available forests are certified.  The mill supports sustainable forestry and will certify its wood procurement system.

What is the timetable for construction and startup?

The goal is to make an investment decision in 2020, once the permits process is complete. After three-year construction phase, production would start during 2024.

Why is the mill site such a peculiar shape?

The needs of future operations have been taken into account in the mill site planning. The design combines the requirements of pulp and additional and bioproducts.

What are the environmental impacts of the Paltamo mill?

The environmental impact of the mill has been evaluated in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). During this process, environmental impacts were evaluated, reported and published.

How is chemical pulp produced?

The production process begins with sorting, debarking and mechanically treating the wood. Wood chips are processed in a digester, where the fibres are separated from hemicellulose and lignin. The method can be the sulphate (kraft) or acid sulphite. The process can be batch or continuous. Batch processes have a number of parallel cooking vessels in different stages. They are filled and unloaded one at a time. In a continuous process, the process runs as a continuous stream in one or several lines.

Raw pulp is brownish in colour, but then washed and usually bleached, dried before baling and delivery to customers for further processing.

From where will the mill take its fresh water?

The fresh water will come from the Oulujärvi lake.

Where will the mill's treated effluents go?

The purified effluents will be passed into the Oulujärvi lake. The technology applied to the process will be selected on BAT-principles (BAT = Best Available Technology).

How are sulphates formed in a pulp mill?

Pulp mill use sulphuric acid to manufacture bleaching chemicals and to adjust process pH. Effluents therefore contain sulphates. The amount of sulphates in wastewater can be reduced by optimising chemical use and seeking substitute alternatives.

How are Finland’s seventeen existing pulp mills managing their sulphates?

Sulphates have been long ceased to be a critical issue in modern pulp production, nor are they considered an environmental threat to waterways. There are many pulp mills larger than Paltamo located by smaller waterways. Paltamo's load would be actually lower than for existing pulp mills in Finland and elsewhere. In existing mills sulphate concentrations are actually controlled effectively using proven technology. All Paltamo’s processes are based on BAT (Best Available Technology).

The water volume of the Oulujärvi lake is 6.7 km3 and its turnover is 0.85 years. This means the entire water volume changes in less than one year. The mill’s wastewater amount is about 0.2 percent of the annual turnover.

This can be illustrated in popular terms.

If you compare Oulujärvi lake’s water volume to a 10 litre bucket, the mill’s purified process water adds two table spoons to this bucket.

And if sulphate is considered as table salt, the mill’s sulphate load is equal to the percentage volume of a teaspoon mixed with a bucket of water.

The recommended amount for sulphates in household water is up to 250 mg/l, corresponding to a teaspoonful sulphates in relation to bucket volume. This would be about 100 times the amount of sulphate discharged by the mill.

How are AOX emissions formed?

AOX, or chlorinated organic compounds, are formed when chlorine dioxide reacts with residual lignin during pulp bleaching.

Have AOX emissions from existing pulp mills been reduced?

AOX emissions decreased already in the 90s, as elemental chlorine use was discontinued in bleaching. Today’s mills use chlorine dioxide is used instead and its use minimised with oxygen and peroxide stages. Thus AOX emissions have declined significantly and current AOX levels have been determined to have no effect on toxicity of the effluent.

How will KaiCell Fibers finance the investment?

The current shareholders believe that the Paltamo mill venture is not only feasible, but an attractive business opportunity that will attract investment. Management is reaching out to the most logical potential partners, who have the resources and industry understanding to ensure financing that can make the mill a reality.