Friday, August 27, 2010

Burnie Council wants pulp mill (der freddie) and...Robert Eastment fearmongering over mill, industry future? (see comments below)

From ABC News Online
Council backs Hampshire pulp mill option
A north-west council says it is would be "more than willing" to back Hampshire as a viable alternative to Gunns' controversial pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.
Gunns will not comment on any alternatives to its Tamar mill proposal.
A leaked draft peace agreement from forest industry talks shows industry and conservationists might be willing to accept a plantation-fed pulp mill in exchange for the protection of native forest.
Conservation groups say they are not giving the green light to the proposed Tamar Valley mill but might support a mill at a different site.
Burnie City Council's general manager Paul Arnold says the forestry peace talks could restart plans for an alternative pulp mill at Hampshire.
"Of course, we'd be more than willing to have Hampshire back in the game," he said.
"Burnie City Council's always been open to a pulp mill at Hampshire and been very, very supportive of it.
"In fact we did a lot of community consultation on it in the earlier days. However, we have respected Gunns' decision to commercially go for Bell Bay but if that is not ultimately approved, of course we'd be more than willing."
Industry analyst Robert Eastment says a pulp mill's essential for the forestry industry.
"If we do not have a pulp mill then we would certainly be faced with the closure of the forest industry in Tasmania

Bloggers note:  - This is the first time i have seen Bob Eastment make such dire apocalyptic claims about the logging industries need for a pulp mill…..“If we do not have a pulp mill then we would certainly be faced with the closure of the forest industry in Tasmania”.
I have heard Scott Mclean, Julian Amos and Terry Edwards make similar claims.
And of course some financial analysts have also suggested that the pulp mill is imperative for Gunns as the company simply cant afford the write off of the mill.
Fearmongering or an admission that Gunns has bet the company on the pulp mill?
The Examiner’s Rachel Williams said it here….
Either way, why should unwilling Tasmanians be dragged into the mess that the private logging company and Tasmania’s dysfunctional logging industry created all by itself?
The fact is Tasmanians shouldnt.
Read about why here….

But I digress. This wasnt Robert Eastments only unsupportable public claim for the day after he declared Tim Cox's ABC Mornings program that “they are building pulp mill’s in the middle of cities in Europe”.
Oh really Robert?
And where would those mills be?
The Stendal mill perhaps?
The Stendal Mill  built in 2005 is one of the most recent kraft mills built in Europe and is located in a sparsely populated area (not a city) around 15-20km from the town of Stendal (population 38,000) which is some 125 km west of Berlin and around 170 km east of Hanover. .
Owned by Mercer International the Stendal Mill received loan guarantees valued at Euro 200 million so that it became attractive for Mercer to site the mill in an area of Germany that had high unemployment.
This modern mill which was hailed as the world's lowest odour mill has been located on flatlands with no inversion layer to retain the odour unlike Longreach in the Tamar Valley
Yet, the Stendal mill did develop odours problems after about 18 months and they have had to set up odour panels in the local towns. The Stendal Mill is only half Gunns proposed size, and has the following words on its website: “smells are ‘unavoidable’ and ‘unpleasantly noticed’ in surrounding municipalities”.
You can guarantee a statement like this made by the company responsible is probably an understatement. But perhaps also a significant admission from very hardy folk who lived without complaint for 60 years under the watchful eye of the Stasi and then suffered 10 years of high unemployment after reunification when the local sugar beet mill was closed!
Even the Labor government's disgraced pulp mill propoganda unit the Pulp Mill Task Force found that the Stendal Mill had "some complaints from individuals - principally during start up and when malfunctions occur".
This is what Australia's foremost expert on Kraft Pulp Mill odour, Warwick Raverty says of the modern Stendal Kraft Pulp Mill and odour............."There are over 400 places in a mill that can cause odour and so it is difficult to pin the cause down. The very latest high technology mill at Stendal in Germany has developed odour problems in its second year of operation, probably due to all of the many thousands of plastic pipe and pump seals becoming saturated with odour over the course of the first 12 months of operation. 'What most Swedes and Finns, including the experts from Jaako Poyry, would regard as 'odour-free' would be completely unacceptable to most Tasmanians. A mill with the same odour abatement system as the Stendal mill built at Hampshire would not create odour problems. At Longreach the same mill is virtually certain to cause major odour problems and even stunt lung development in children living near the mill, according to the latest AMA evidence".

In 2006, a NTD (The Northern Tasmanian Development Group) study tour reported that 'Pulp Mills in Europe emitted odour two or three times a year despite modern technology'.  Jo Archer reported that the smell from the older pulp mill at Gruvon, made her gag.

Curiously, The Stendal Mill was avoided by Tasmania's parliamentarians on their pulp mill fact finding trips to Europe.

Maybe Robert Eastment was actually talking about the Mill in Sweden that caused Julian Green to nearly collapse with severe asthma when he arrived and got out of the bus?
Warwick Raverty said of this incident…..“When we got out of the minibus in the car park, Julian Green very quickly became distressed - he couldn’t breathe,” Mr Raverty said. “I found the odour intensely objectionable and within a matter of minutes, Julian Green was gasping and saying ‘For God’s sake, get me out of here”.
Julian Green was RPDC Pulp Mill assessment panel chair at the time and wrote to Gunns about the RPDC’s concerns re odour.
The letter from Mr Green stated that the Tamar Valley was a particularly sensitive area.
.......“Gunns’ proposal to site the mill in the Tamar Estuary, where air is frequently stagnant and covered by a thermal inversion layer, and within the Tamar Valley air shed - itself subject to widespread concerns over levels of aerial pollutants from other sources - means that the commission must be proactive and take particular interest in this aspect of the proposal,” the letter said.

The letter finished with this backhander:
...“I reiterate that the commission has not had even a vestige of an indication from Gunns, or its consultants that this potential problem - that has been a major source of community nuisance and concern in the two other kraft mills in Australia - firstly exists, or secondly and more importantly, about how it is to be addressed,” it said.

The clear inference of Robert Eastment's claim about Kraft Mills in European cities being that Kraft mills just like Gunns exist in large populated areas in Eurpoe without harming public and environmental health.
Oh yeah Robert. Where?


  1. Wouldn't it just be so ironic if, after all this time, a pulp mill ends up being approved for Hampshire, the site that was after all originally recommended by pulp and paper scientist, (and former RPDC panellist) Dr Warwick Raverty. Had it not been for the supreme arrogance, and pig-headed stubborness of John Gay and Robin Gray, Gunns would not now be in the dire and financially straitened circumstances the company would appear to be in. And those of us living in the Tamar Valley would not have had six years of our lives dominated by distress, anxiety and uncertainty about our future.

  2. ps go the dockers !

  3. congrats whishy. was a good game.

  4. Funny to hear "forest industry will die without a pulp mill" I grew up hearing "Burnie will die without a pulp mill" - which couldn't have been more wrong. I guess mill myths are self-perpetuating!

  5. Hey pilko. Love your articles and like the way you think. One thing i can say about you is you are not just a follower.
    Thanks to the hard work of focussed people like yourself and others like whishy, Paul O, Vica etc the Tamar Mill will never get built.
    Dont let the nutters get you down.