Montes Del Plata, a 50/50 joint venture between Chilean Arauco and Finnish Stora Enso, manufactures cellulose pulp from wood, and has been operating in Uruguay since 2009.
On 30th Dec, the company received a permit for its $2 billion investment plan to build a 1.3 million tones/yr bleached eucalyptus kraft (BEK) pulp mill in Conchillas, in the department of Colonia. This will be the biggest one in the world. Like the leading forest product company UPM, it will have its own deep port, and at least four barges to enable the transportation of the pulp to the transatlantic ships.
Montes Del Plata has agreed not to make use of extremely fertile land for forest purposes. The company is also planning to build a biomass-based energy generator plant.
The construction would provide employment for over 5,000 people, and according to the Uruguayan Government, once the plant is in operation, it will generate 500 direct positions and around 2,000 additional indirect ones.
The Ministry of Environment announced that the Institution has carried out the relevant studies about the operation, and that the authorization will be in force as long as the construction works start before the end of the 12 month term, as of the date of the Ministerial decision which was December 30th, 2010. It is estimated that the plant would be operative in about two years from then.
Carolina Moreira, spokeswoman for Montes del Plata stated that although the final decision about the investment is yet to be made, the approval granted to the project by the Uruguayan Government is a “very important step”, so she is optimistic and believes that in the company’s next board of directors meeting, the final word will come out.
President Mujica outlined the importance of this event and warned about these kinds of projects that go beyond the term of the government of the day. He encouraged the stakeholders to lay the foundation stones in this project and the deep-water ports in Rocha, knowing that these are major works for our children to finish and enjoy.
Montes Del Plata also has an environmental facility that breeds and preserves some species in danger of extinction, such as the coatis. Once they are old enough, they are introduced into their natural habitat. Montes Del Plata also promotes the responsible management of resources through the conservation of soil, water, air, and biodiversity.