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Controversial Wood Strategy Shows Promise

11 April 2012

Controversial Wood Strategy Shows Promise

The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) released its Strategic Action Plan for Forestry at the FORESTWOOD 2012 national conference for the forest and wood products sector in Wellington last month.

At the ForestWood Conference a new action plan emerged from within that strategy – one which strongly recommends a steep change and leap forward for the industry. Richard Phillips, of North Carolina State University, made a compelling presentation for a new “mega-mill” in the form of a one million tonne per annum integrated pulp mill built to also house integrated biomass and biofuel production cells.

John Stulen, Chief Executive of the Forest Industry Contractors Association, commented on the plan. “The single action plan was somewhat controversial. Traditionally our forest products industry has held a strong preference for short-term sales outside of their larger long-term supply contracts to local wood users,” said Mr Stulen.

Mr Stulen said the plan has genuine potential to achieve outstanding results. “The refreshing part of the single action plan is that, in the context of the overall current industry reality, it is quite feasible. The prospect that it could produce extra sales of $6 billion, over a log export growth strategy, is downright exciting,” said Mr Stulen.

“There are some stark realities associated with the single action plan; feasibility studies need to be funded and carried out, massive engineering costing and capital expenditure projects need to be funded and completed, resource consents need to be obtained, and human resources must be trained and delivered in time for construction and operation of such a large pulp mill. But what an exciting prospect,” he added.

FICA has applied their strategy criteria to Mr Phillip’s proposal:

STABILITY – The mega-mill would be a very stabilising influence on our industry as it becomes a fixed-volume user and consumer of some 5 million cubic meters of wood volume annually.

GROWTH – This is probably the biggest challenge; for our industry to grow pulp and paper exports in exports markets willing to pay the going price.

LEADERSHIP – To begin, achieve and complete such a ‘single-action plan’ as the “mega-mill” project would require some deeply committed leadership from both industry and government.

“Either through actions by several players across our industry to grow export values and prosperity or a single action focused on a mega-mill project and business, things are looking positive for anyone associated with our industry right now. Long may it last,” said Mr Stulen.

About Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA)
FICA’s role is to improve profitability of forest contractors and their clients. This is achieved through professional development programmes including regional seminars, workshops and networking meetings around key forest product regions of the country.

Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco)
Woodco brings together the key parts of the supply chain from NZ Forest Owners Association, Farm Forestry Association, Forest Industry Contractors Association, Wood Processors Association and the Pine Manufacturers Association.

ENDS

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