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Sappi to Close Usutu Pulp Mill in South Africa
Brunswick, South Africa, 30 October 2009 -- Sappi today announced that it will begin the process of consulting with staff and all other relevant stakeholders regarding its intention to close the Usutu pulp mill on 31 January 2010.

The closure is prompted by adverse market conditions, and the cumulative severe impact of fire damage over the past few years, in particular the fires of August 2008, which destroyed 40% of the Usutu timber crop.

With the closure of the mill, Sappi also would exit the unbleached softwood flash-dried pulp market served by Usutu pulp mill. The mill has a capacity of 190,000 metric tons annually, but is no longer sustainable.

Sappi will continue to seek future beneficiation opportunities for the profitable use of the Usutu forests. This could include the introduction of new investors.

The Sappi Usutu Pulp Company directly employs around 600 people.

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