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Metsä‘s Kemi Pulp & Board Mill Goes Offline After Explosion

Metsä Wood will repair damage to the world’s most advanced bioproduct mill, which was opened in 2022. It’s not known what impact the disruption will have on global supply of pulp and containerboard


Fri 29 Mar 24

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One of the world’s largest pulp and containerboard mills will be closed for at least 10-12 weeks after a gas explosion damaged critical infrastructure at Metsä Board’s Kemi mill on Friday.

Wood Central understands the accident happened on Friday – which caused major damage to the world’s most advanced bioproduct mill.

Three workers were exposed to hydrogen sulphide in the fallout and were referred for a health check. The persons have returned to work after the check-up.

According to a media statement provided today, Metsä Board confirmed that whilst the incident did not damage the Kemi kraft liner mill, it was forced to shut down “because unbleached pulp needed by the board mill could not be produced without the chemical from the damaged bioproduct mill.”

It also confirmed that Metsä Board will investigate whether it can restart board production “at a significantly lower production level during the repair work or opportunities to offer alternative products to customers.”

At its peak, the Kemi containerboard mill produces 465,000 tonnes of white-top kraft liner every year, whilst the bioproduct mill capacity stands at 1 million tonnes of softwood pulp, 300,000 tonnes of hardwood pulp and 180,000 tonnes of unbleached pulp.

Opened in 2022, the mill uses an innovative process to take all the advantages possible when producing pulp and to replace fossil fuels with bioproducts, billed as a huge step towards sustainability and a big boost for Finland’s pledge to drive a green economy.

The latest setback comes after Metsä Group joined Stora Endo and UPM in closing pulp and paper mills after Finnish workers agreed to a two-week “strike “walkout” over recent changes to the labour market earlier this month.

The controversy centres around the union’s continued opposition to the government’s planned changes to labour market legislation, which will see the government change the definition of employment contracts and conditions.

Finland is one of the world’s largest paper producers and, among the three companies, was responsible for producing more than 8.7 million metric tons of pulp in 2021.

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  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.

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