Arauco’s MAPA pulp project delayed due to Covid-19

The Covid-19 crisis is having an impact on Arauco’s pulp expansion project in Chile. The expanded mill will start-up several months later than planned.

Chilean forestry group Celulosa Arauco will start up its expanded pulp mill in Arauco around six months later than originally planned. According to a company spokesman, this delay is attributable in the first place to the coronavirus pandemic. In view of absences due to sickness or self-isolation and up to 1,000 virus tests per day conducted at the five Covid-19 testing centers located on the company’s premises, the rebuild was not progressing as efficiently as it could, explained the spokesman.

At the end of September, the project known under the name of MAPA (Modernización y Ampliación Planta Arauco) was 63 percent complete. Original plans provided for commissioning in March next year. Now it is currently estimated that the start-up will take place at the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2021.

Arauco had announced the MAPA project in July 2018. It provides for the modernization and expansion of the Arauco plant in southern Chile by investing a total of just under $2.4bn – to date the largest investment in the company’s history.

Arauco plans to shut down Line 1, which offers a capacity of 290,000 tpy of eucalyptus pulp, and replace it with a new line for bleached eucalyptus pulp (Line 3), which will have a capacity of around 1.56 million t. Moreover, the project also includes the modernization of Line 2, whose bleached softwood kraft pulp (BSKP) capacity amounts to 510,000 tpy. All in all, the Arauco plant’s entire capacity will total about 2.1 million tpy of pulp once the rebuilding work has been completed.

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