Sam Winston Smith Swanbank Paper director, says the company is due to complete its bankable feasibility study by mid next week, with the environmental impact study due for completion about the same time. Discussions are also under way with several bankers and with potential investors across Australia’s industry and finance sectors. Financial close is scheduled for early 2004.
John Roche, Swanbank project director, says he anticipates work to commence as early as April 2004. He believes it is essential to get the project under way, as the 1.5 km long facility must be fully conditioned at least six months prior to the 700 metre paper line machine is installed. Metso will build the machine over the next two years, for an undisclosed sum, which is likely to equate to one third of the total budget.
Once completed, the mill will manufacture 350,000 tonnes a year of coated paper. Currently, the majority of Australia’s glossy paper is sourced from Europe, with 70,000 tonnes produced locally by PaperlinX. Last year, lcoal demand was in excess of 350,000 tonnes, a four per cent rise on the previous year.
Roche expects 85 per cent of the mill’s product will be sold domestically, with the remainder to be exported to generate foreign exchange to pay for the pulp, which will be supplied by Sweden’s CellMark. Swanbank is likely list on the ASX once the mill is up and running, which is expected to be early 2006.