In China, Oji Holdings is building two new 60,000-metric tpy tissue PMs at its pulp and paper complex in Nantong city, Jiangsu province.
According to a company source, infrastructure construction kicked off late last year, with startups scheduled for early 2020. Andritz has been signed up to provide the pair.
According to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) document that Oji published a year ago, it plans to build a total of 360,000 metric tpy of tissue capacity at the Nantong mill over a five-year period.
The project will be implemented in three phases, with each seeing 120,000 metric tpy of capacity coming on stream.
The EIA document shows that the scheme will also include an increase of the maximum production rate of an on-site bleached hardwood kraft (BHK) pulp line, from the current 500,000 metric tpy to 700,000 metric tpy by the time the first two tissue PMs are completed.
The BHK line, which was built to have a capacity of 700,000 metric tpy, was kicked into production in mid-2014 after the Chinese environmental authorities approved its startup on the condition that it would run at no more than two-thirds of its design capacity.
The cap was the result of a change to the facility’s wastewater disposal plan, from discharging into the ocean via a 120 km-long pipeline to a reclaimed water system that would ensure zero emissions.
According to the EIA document about the tissue investments, the wastewater from the stepped-up pulp production and from first two tissue PMs will also be handled by the reclaimed water system.
Since the BHK line started up, around half of its output has been integrated with the Nantong mill’s sole paper machine, which was fired up in 2010 and can produce up to 400,000 metric tpy of coated fine paper (CFP).
The surplus pulp has been sold on the Chinese market.
Oji initially aimed to build another 400,000-metric tpy CFP PM at the same site, but it had second thoughts, seeing China’s CFP sector in a state of apparent oversupply since 2011.
The Japanese paper giant used to operate a single 20,000-metric tpy tissue paper mill in Suzhou city, also in Jiangsu province, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Oji Paper Nepia (Suzhou). The company decided to permanently shut down the Suzhou mill in 2016 due to persistent losses. The TM was dismantled in 2017 and sold to Indonesian paper producer Pt Sun Paper Source.
Since then, Oji has been selling its tissue brand Nepia in China as produced by other manufacturers.
The move to install new tissue PMs at the Nantong facility will mark the company’s re-entry into tissue paper production in China.