Launcestron, Tasmania, Australia, 29 September 2011 -- Greg L’Estrange, Gunns Limited managing director, recently welcomed the view of Alex Schaap, Tasmania’s Environmental Protection Agency director, in relation to substantial commencement for the Bell Bay pulp mill project. Under the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007, Gunns had a requirement to demonstrate substantial commencement of the project by 30 August 2011 and provided the EPA with a detailed submission earlier this month outlining the nature and scope of activity on the project to date.
Schaap recently outlined his view that the project has "substantially commenced" and that the permits remain valid.
"We are pleased that the EPA accepted the case we put to it, and has laid to rest any concerns that the permit was not valid," said L’Estrange. "More than AUD 239 million has been spent by Gunns across four major work streams -- regulatory approvals, the commercial and financial framework, social-political interactions, and physical site works -- in what is a complex and major infrastructure project for the nation," he said.
Over AUD 195 million has been spent since the pulp mill permit was issued on 30 August 2007. "This outcome adds welcome clarity to the whole project, but also to the ongoing discussions we’re having with potential project investors," said L’Estrange.
L’Estrange said negotiations were continuing with two possible equity partners for the mill project, but that there was no immediate timeframe for an outcome of those discussions.