New recycling mills on hold p. 31

By: Jim Rosenberg

THE HANDFUL OF proposed newsprint recycling mills announced in recent years have yet to become projects. The waste paper buyer at one papermaker contemplating a new recycling mill said many projects were put on hold because of the high cost of waste fiber in the last year and a half.
Ponderosa Fibres of America’s long-planned newspaper deinking-recycling mill for New York’s Bronx borough
never got off the ground. “That project has been postponed indefinitely,” said
a Ponderosa spokeswoman.
Out west, a partnership of German and Canadian papermakers has yet to be realized. Haindl and Vancouver-based MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. were granted permits last year to erect and operate a mill West Sacramento, Calif.
But MacMillan Bloedel public affairs vice president Alan Stubbs em-
phasized that his company has
never committed to the $1
billion project.
Stubbs said MacMillan Bloedel cannot proceed until the city builds the sewage treatment plant near the site through which the mill’s effluent would pass. The hangup is review of environmental impact. He said a draft report on the matter submitted in mid-July was to have a public hearing last week .
But because it is “a fairly lengthy process in California,” said Stubbs, “we wouldn’t expect that to be concluded much before the end of the year. assuming that it’s approved, then the company will consider whether it’s a project we want to undertake.”
A green light from regulators, however, will not guarantee more recycled newsprint.
“So far, the return on investment hasn’t looked that promising,” he remarked. The company’s board of directors has yet to review the project, he said, adding that it will probably not be formally considered before early 1996.
Evergreen Paper Co. has proposed recycled newsprint mills east and west. After scouting New England for a site and financial incentives for a billion-dollar mill, the company selected property in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Evergreen founder and president Ronald Morgan did not return calls for comment.
Evergreen already had plans for a mill adjacent to electrical power and waste treatment plants in Red Rock, Ariz. Among other potential investors, Morgan brought his proposal for a
recycling mill to Vancouver-based Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd. “There has been a relationship,” said Tom Pitts, president of Fletcher Challenge Paper Co., San Francisco, who added that he could not be certain of its future or the fate of the project.
In Vancouver, FCCL strategic planning executives and communications managers were unavailable for comment. Though noting FCCL “ended up making certain commitments,” to Morgan’s planned mill for Red Rock, Pitts would not define their nature, saying only that he believed they “gave us a preferential position” and that some “consideration” was provided for Morgan to pursue the project.
In the Midwest, Manistique Papers Inc. was examining the feasibility of siting a newsprint recycling mill in Ohio. “It’s very much in limbo now,” said Manistique general manager Leif Christiansen. He said that after completing various inspections, no site was selected. He would not specify the proposed mill’s cost or capacity, but called the investment required to build a cost-efficient mill “gargantuan.”
Manistique operates a groundwood speciality paper mill on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that consumes almost 500 tons of old magazines per day.
To “respond to the increasing demand for recycled fiber by paper mills in the Upper Midwest,” Tacoma-based Weyerhaeuser Co. announced it acquired Midland Recycling in Omaha.

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