Re “Pulp mill works” – letters to the Editor, 26th February
In his letter under the heading ‘Pulp mill works’, Mr Millar of Hillwood has shot the pro-mill case well and truly in the foot. Yes Graz has a pulp mill at Gratkorn, 10 km from the centre of town. A little additional research on the web would have informed Mr Millar that the SAPPI Gratkorn Mill is NOT A KRAFT MILL. Gratkorn Mill is a magnefite acid sulfite mill that uses a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT set of chemicals, lacking any smelly sulfides, to produce bleached sulfite pulp at 23% of the scale of Gunns’ proposal. The Gratkorn Mill thus produces NO FOUL GAS EMISSIONS and, significantly, is also able to use TOTALLY CHLORINE FREE bleaching to whiten its sulfite pulp. Being operated by SAPPI, one of the most experienced and environmentally conscious, FSC certified pulp and paper companies in the world, the effluent treatment system is able to treat the dioxin-free and AOX-free mill effluent to a standard where it can be discharged into the Mur River under EPA licence. Mr Millar did not have to travel to Austria to find a magnefite mill – there is a smaller one at Tantanoola, near Millicent, South Australia, operated by Kimberley Clark that The Company put up for sale in the last month. Like Graz, Millicent has no odour problems. Unfortunately bleached magnefite pulp is not as strong as kraft pulp and SAPPI has to import around 600,000 tonnes per year of bleached kraft pulp into order to supplement the 255,000 tonnes of weaker sulfite pulp made at Gratkorn to make 920,000 tonnes of strong coated printing papers each year.
Significantly for Tamar residents, the city of GRAZ IS ALSO HEADQUARTERS FOR ANDRITZ AG, the company that Gunns proposes to use for supply of its major items of kraft pulping equipment. With Andritz ‘next door’ in Graz so to speak, one might expect SAPPI to have adopted Andritz’s kraft pulping technology for Gratkorn as part of the many upgrades it has made to the mill in recent years. SAPPI HAVE NOT CHANGED TO KRAFT BECAUSE IT WOULD RUIN THE TOURISM AND HERITAGE VALUES ON WHICH GRAZ RELIES because of the fugitive foul gas odour and it would also make the effluent impossible to treat to a standard where the Austrian EPA would allow discharge into the Mur River. IN FACT NONE OF SAPPI's chemical pulp mills in Germany and Austria USE KRAFT PULPING AND ECF BLEACHING - they ALL use the acid sulfite process and TCF bleaching. It is high time that the Tasmanian Government admits its mistakes and reverts to ethical standards. There have been significant changes in pulping technology since 2007 and the PMAA must be revoked and Gunns’ proposal re-submitted to independent, detailed expert scrutiny rather than to a compromised consultant like Sweco Pic, that relies on Andritz for a significant part of its income.
Dr Warwick Raverty, Clayton South, VIC