An Argentine-Uruguayan commission took 50 samples of effluent from the pulp mill off Fray Bentos and as many in the Gualeguaychú mouth of the river in Entre Rios. Botnia passes test. The reports from the samples collected on the Argetine side recorded more polluting than those found off Fray Bentos. The plant's formal name is Orion but is widely known for its original Finnish name Botnia.
Finland's UPM, one of the largest forestry groups in the world, does not intend for the moment to build any new pulp mills in Uruguay, said Jaakko Sarantola, vice president of the cellulose division of the company, who also pointed out that Uruguay needs to improve infrastructure to facilitate logistics.
Uruguay officially inaugurated on Monday a second pulp mill, Montes del Plata, on the River Plate, belonging to Chile's Arauco and Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso, which is considered the largest single investment in the country and will have an annual production of 1.3 million tons.
The Uruguay-Germany commerce and industry chamber (AHK), expressed its deepest concern over the current tension in relations between Uruguay and Argentina, and warned about the impact on the business climate for the two countries.
Argentine foreign minister Hector Timerman said that the pulp mill dispute with Uruguay is 'political' and wondered how great is Finland's' Botnia-UPM influence in the country, but at the same time underlined that all chances of dialogue have been 'exhausted'.
The lasted chapter of the resurgent diplomatic conflict between Argentina and Uruguay was not addressed during a brief encounter of presidents Cristina Fernandez and Jose Mujica in Bolivia where they attended the G77 plus China summit over the weekend.
Argentina reacted strongly and with a letter in harsh terms to Uruguay's decision to authorize Finland's UPM-Kymmene pulp mill to increase annual production by 8%. The letter addressed by Foreign minister Hector Timerman to his peer Luis Almagro informs Argentina will take the case to international tribunals and is currently 'reassessing' bilateral relations.
Uruguay has confirmed a third pulp mill to be built to the north east of the country in Cerro Largo, while the second one, Montes del Plata on the River Plate and recently finished is to be formally inaugurated sometime between May 15 and 25, although production will be delayed for a few months since the second wharf is unfinished and the effluents plant non commissioned.
A clear majority of Uruguayans, 61% believe Argentina is the less friendly country, according to a March 13/23 public opinion poll, with 1.013 interviews in Montevideo and the main urban locations in the rest of the country.
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica said there is 'nothing guaranteed' in the coming talks with Argentina over a long list of bilateral issues, in reference to his meeting on Tuesday with president Cristina Fernandez in Cuba on the sidelines of the recent Celac summit. Mujica was interviewed by a Uruguayan television channel.