APP China is moving to build a massive greenfield tissue paper mill in Rudong county, Nantong city, Jiangsu province.
Environmental impact assessment reports show that the new mill will eventually boast 780,000 metric tpy of tissue capacity. The number of TMs and the capacity of each have not been finalized.
If the project stays on track, the first machine will be fired up there by the end of 2020, a contact close to the project told Fastmarkets RISI.
Already the largest tissue producer by capacity in the country, APP China currently runs six tissue paper mills with a combined capacity of around 1.8 million metric tpy.
It recently kicked off the construction of two 60,000-metric tpy tissue machines at its existing mill in Xiaogan city, Hubei province. Supplied by Valmet, each unit has a trim width of 5.6 m and a design speed of 2,000 m/min. Their startups are expected in mid-2020. At that point the total tissue capacity at the Xiaogan plant will be 360,000 metric tpy.
The two PMs were initially destined for the company’s mill in Suzhou city, Jiangsu province, as part of an expansion scheme drawn up by the company in 2013 to erect dozens of new tissue PMs at its mills across the country.
But a couple of years later, it became clear the Chinese tissue market was oversupplied. In 2016, it emerged that APP China’s parent company, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), had shifted the focus of its tissue paper expansion to Indonesia. The two Valmet PMs had already been delivered to the Suzhou mill, and have been stored there since.
Since 2016 the company has commissioned only four new tissue machines in China, all in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Two 60,000-metric tpy A Celli PMs started up in its Suining mill in 2016 and 2018 respectively. Two 27,000-metric tpy units supplied by Jinshun Machinery came online at the Yaan mill in early 2018. The total tissue capacity of the Suzhou plant has stood at approximately 420,000 metric tpy since 2015. Built in the Suzhou Industrial Park in 1996, it is APP’s first tissue paper production base in China.
In January, APP’s mother brand, the Sinar Mas Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the local government authorities to jointly develop the industrial park into a high-tech hub for biomedicine and information technology. Initial planning for the area shows no place for paper production in the future.
It is unknown when the Suzhou plant will close and what will become of the tissue units currently operating there.