Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 06 September 2011 -- Fortress Paper Ltd. reports that the construction relating to the conversion of the Fortress specialty cellulose mill at Thurso, Quebec, from a northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) pulp to a dissolving pulp operation is proceeding mostly on schedule. However, due to rescheduling of the delivery and installation of specialized equipment, and the enhancement of certain processes, the company has decided to slightly delay the necessary shut down of the mill required to make tie-ins and upgrades on existing equipment for the conversion.
The production of dissolving pulp is now scheduled to commence in early November 2011. The enhancements to certain processes will provide for a smoother start up and ramp-up to full production capacity. The deferment in the production of dissolving pulp is partially mitigated by the mill's existing production of specialty pulp, which yields a higher margin as compared to NBHK pulp.
This specialty pulp is manufactured to tight technical specifications, which will aid in the transformation to dissolving pulp. As a result of the extensive development and training experience derived from achieving the tolerances required for this unique specialty pulp, the mill will be positioned for a more efficient transition to dissolving pulp production later this year. Four 110-ton boilers were installed at the site in May, and construction of a 25 MW cogeneration plant began this summer.
Thurso plant manager Marco Veilleux recently told a local newspaper that the facility could eventually become a biorefinery. He noted that the dissolving pulp process extracts a large amount of sugars from the end product, and there are opportunities to make ancillary products from these sugars.
Fortress Paper is a leading international producer of security and other specialty papers and products. Fortress operates three mills, the Landqart mill Switzerland, the Dresden mill in Germany, and the Fortress specialty cellulose mill in Quebec, Canada. Fortress Paper's security papers include banknote, passport, and visa papers and its specialty papers include nonwoven wallpaper base products, and graphic and technical papers. Fortress Paper's pulp business includes specialty pulp produced at the Fortress specialty cellulose mill, which is currently in the process of converting this capacity into dissolving pulp production along with the construction of a biomass based cogeneration plant.