MONTEVIDEO – The Montes del Plata paper plant, owned by Chile’s Arauco and Swedish-Finnish firm Stora Enso, the construction of which was the largest private investment project in Uruguayan history, on the weekend sent its first export shipment to Asia, company executives said Sunday.
Construction began on the plant in mid-2011 and it was finished last April. In early June, it received its final environmental authorizations and two weeks ago it began producing cellulose paste.
The first export shipment of cellulose was for 21,000 tons and was sent to several Asian nations.
The paper plant, located in the Punta Pereira zone in Colonia province on the Rio de la Plata, will produce 1.3 million tons of cellulose per year from eucalyptus fiber coming from its plantations in 11 of the country’s 19 provinces.
The project – which includes the cellulose plant, a power generation unit using biomass and a port via which to export the cellulose and receive supplies – required an investment of some $2 billion.
The company forecasts that the industrial complex will contribute $844 million to Uruguay’s gross domestic product.
Besides Montes del Plata, Uruguay also has another cellulose plant in operation, this one owned by the Finnish firm UPM and located on the bank of the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina.
The authorization to increase production at the UPM plant to 1.3 million tons per year a few weeks ago revived a bilateral conflict between Uruguay and Argentina.