Over the past few years, the majority of new short-fibre pulp production capacity has been established in South America,
i.e. Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.
The Finnish companies have also invested in new pulp capacity in Brazil and in Uruguay, altogether about 1,5 million tons. A new, partly Finnish company owned pulp mill is being built in Uruguay with annual capacity of 1.3. million tons. The latest announcement about plans to investment in pulp production where done in China.
Global production about 130 million tons
The global production of chemical pulp is about 130 million tons. Around 70 per cent of this is bleached pulp, of which roughly equal amounts are long-fibre (softwood) pulp and short-fibre (hardwood) pulp. Unbleached pulp accounts for about 30 per cent of production.
North America is the biggest producer of chemical pulp with 55 million tons followed by Europe, Asia and South America. In Europe, chemical pulp production is around 35 million tonnes, representing a little over a quarter of total global output. Asian production is close to 25 million tons and South American volume reaches almost 20 million tons.
China pulp production is primarily based on non-wood fibres. Chemical wood pulp production volumes are quite low in China, but significant quantities of it are imported.
Production in Finland
In 2011 10.4 million tons of pulp (mechanical and chemical pulp) was produced in Finland. The total pulp exports (market pulp) went up to 2.2 tons.
Pulp mills produce energy
A pulp mill is quite an energy facility. Pulp manufacturing separates wood fibres and the lignin that binds them together. The mixture of cooking lye and lignin – called black lliquor – is burned to enable the recovery and reuse of cooking chemicals. This generates large amounts of wood-based energy. In fact, pulp mills often produce more energy than they consume and are able to supply electricity and heat for adjoining paper mills, in addition to which they even provide district heating for the surrounding community.