Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 May 2011 -- Sappi Southern Africa has entered into a new phase of growth and development with the decision to expand and modernize the Sappi Ngodwana mill, including the introduction of 210,000 tons/year of chemical cellulose production at the mill. Sappi’s total production of chemical cellulose will increase to more than a million tons per year, entrenching our position as the global leader in chemical cellulose production, a fast growing, high margin business serving the textiles, consumer goods, foodstuffs, and pharmaceutical industries.
“This is a significant development for Sappi Southern Africa and confirms the confidence that the company has in this region," said Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa. "The project will see various enhancements and changes to the mill, all aimed at further improving the mill’s prospects as well as improving the mill’s environmental footprint. Of significance will be the replacement of the current bleach plant with a new process which will be chemically more efficient and will generate less effluent. The current bleached hardwood paper pulp capacity will be converted to produce chemical cellulose. The project demonstrates the commitment of Sappi to invest in South Africa to grow its business globally.”
SW Engelbrecht, general manager of Ngodwana mill, commented, “We are all very excited by the faith shown in the mill and its people to help grow Sappi’s business and, of course, the project, for which planning and consultation originally started in 2003, is a major boost for the local Lowveld economy.”
Commenting on the environmental footprint of the mill, Engelbrecht said, "The project will further reduce mill odor and improved efficiencies from new equipment will mean burning 61,000 tons less coal per year, which equates to 120,000 tons fewer CO2 emissions. In addition, total mill effluent will significantly reduce and the revised project will require 200,000 tons less timber per year and 18,400 fewer trucks on the road compared to what was anticipated in the original project P1050.”
Sappi Southern Africa is an integrated forest products company serving domestic and international customers through a wide range of products. It operates through three divisions:
-- Chemical cellulose, a product made from a natural and renewable wood base source, is sold to converters and manufacturers for use in a wide range of consumer products such as clothing, plastics, food and pharmaceutical products, chemicals and beauty and household products. Sappi is the world’s largest manufacturer of chemical cellulose. Current production, from the Sappi Saiccor Mill in Umkomaas, KwaZulu Natal, will increase to meet growing customer needs through the modification of the Ngodwana mill.
-- The Paper and Paper Packaging division produces paper pulp, newsprint, coated and uncoated fine papers, office and business papers, security and speciality papers, containerboard, and packaging papers. Services include supporting the recycling of paper through Sappi ReFibre; developing new products in collaboration with end-use customers and the Sappi Technology Centre, situated at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria; and technical support for printers and designers to ensure that Sappi’s products deliver the best possible value to all involved.
-- Sappi Forests supplies 70% of the wood needs of Sappi Southern Africa from 380,000 hectares of its own and managed commercial timber plantations, currently with more than 34 million tons of standing timber. All fiber grown on Sappi-owned land is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and ISO 9000 certified. A further 150,000 hectares of land is protected and managed by Sappi Forests to conserve the natural habitat and biodiversity found there, including wetlands and riparian zones. Sappi’s land is available (with certain provisos) to the public for recreational use, such as mountain biking.
Sappi Southern Africa is a division of Sappi Limited (JSE: SAP; NYSE:SPP) a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 15,500 employees and manufacturing operations on four continents in nine countries, sales offices in 50 countries, and customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi at www.sappi.com.