Stora Enso's Beihai Mill, Guangxi Province, China

Stora Enso's Beihai Mill

Finnish-Swedish forestry and biomaterials company, Stora Enso, announced its plans to build a consumer board and pulp mill in China in March 2014. The facility produces liquid packaging board and folding box board grades for the rapidly expanding Chinese market. The annual boardproduction capacity of the plant is approximately 450,000t.

Liquid packaging board is used for protecting and preserving contents. Effective printing properties make paperboard cartons suitable for carriers and brand builders.

The plant was built within the Tieshangang Port Industrial Zone located approximately 40km outside Beihai, Guangxi Province, China. The estimated cost of the project is €1.6bn (approximately $2.2bn).

Stora Enso signed an equity and debt financing agreement comprising an equity investment of CNY356m ($57.78m) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the Beihai facility. Operations are managed by an equity joint-venture (JV) established by Stora Enso with 83% shareholding in the project, while 5% ownership lies with IFC and the rest is owned by Guangxi Forestry Group and Beihai Forestry Investment & Development Company.

The consumer board machine became fully operational in June 2016. The project has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and its Chinese equivalent (CFCC). Stora Enso initiated the process with the government to withdraw the chemical pulp mill from its investment permit in January 2017.

Beihai Mill details and key players

China is mostly dependent on imports for wood and fibre. Stora Enso leased 90,000ha of land in Guangxi for eucalyptus plantations and has been managing it since 2002. Two-thirds of the leased lands are owned by the Chinese State. The plantations are located in the Guangxi regions of Beihai, Nanning, Yulin and Qinlian, supplying wood to the board and pulp mill.

In October 2008, Tetra Pak announced its plans to build a new packaging plant in India.

Valmet supplies a chemi-mechanical pulp called bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) and a board production line to the Beihai facility for production of high-quality liquid packaging board and folding box board grades from eucalyptus. The total value of the order is €115m (approximately $158.2m). The BCTMP line will produce 650t of pulp a day.

Stora Enso also signed an agreement with Kemira to promote responsible water management and community engagement in the Guangxi Province.

The scope of the board machine delivery includes a multi-fourdinier forming section with a hybrid forming unit, a press, drying and coating sections, a surface sizing unit, a calendar, a reel, two winders and a wide mill engineering package. It also includes related air systems and chemical systems ,as well asstock preparation and auxiliary systems.

Bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) process

BCTMP process is a mechanical pulping technology, which uses alkali and/or sulphte for impregnation of pre-steamed and washed chips. The chips are then fed to a first stage pressurised refiner to remove impurities in a two-stage process, while the pressurised steam is recovered. Main and reject lines are usually screened using narrow slotted baskets.

Rejected pulp is collected and sent for second-stage refining using traditional high-consistency reject refining. After screening, the pulp is dewatered to 10%-12% on a disc filter before being sent to the bleaching plant.

The brightness requirement on hard wood grades decides the need for either a two-stage peroxide bleaching system or a high-consistency stage.

Benefits of the Stora Enso facility

"As well as meeting the customer requirement for fibre-based renewable packaging, the facility also benefits the local economy."

As well as meeting the customer requirement for fibre-based renewable packaging, the facility also benefits the local economy. It employed 5,500 employees during the construction phase. Local landowners also benefit from the project.

Marketing commentary

Stora Enso is an integrated paper, biomaterials, wood products and packaging company located in Helsinki, Finland. The company has approximately 29,000 employees supporting operations in 17 countries worldwide.