Whakatane Paper Mill’s investment to boost folding boxboard production

New Zealand’s Whakatane Mill Ltd (WML) announces a significant investment upgrade, and progress is already well underway.

WML has successfully secured a substantial private investment of over NZD$70 million from its shareholders. This investment marks the most significant capital expenditure for WML since 2004 and is a testament to its commitment to growth. The infusion of funds will facilitate a major upgrade, elevating WML to industry-leading standards.

“The upgrade will deliver an additional 50,000 tonnes of premium folding box boards, increasing WML’s production from 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes. Customers will enjoy the advantages of higher quality board, while the production process will be more environmentally friendly, utilizing fewer raw materials and operating with improved energy efficiency. The upgrade is paving the way for WML to potentially produce up to 300,000 tonnes of premium folding box board in the future.

Per tonne of board, the energy efficiency will be approximately 30% better, gas consumption will be reduced by more than 30% and WML’s water consumption from the local river will also see a significant decrease.

Additionally, WML will eliminate plastic consumption by transitioning from plastic to paper wrap for the packaging of its finished products. The heat recovery system will contribute significantly to WML’s ESG profile. As the sole folding box board producer in Australasia, WML’s advancements offer main brand owners such as DB Breweries, McDonalds, and Griffins the chance to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid importing packaging from countries like Finland, Korea, China, and Chile.

Construction commenced in the last week of June and will continue until mid-late August with full production expected to be achieved by November 2023.

The equipment for the upgrade has been sourced from highly specialised manufacturers in Europe. The core equipment for the board machine, specifically the water removal/drying section, has been imported from Germany, while the fully automated paper wrap line originates from Finland, and the crucial heat recovery system has been acquired from Italy.

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