News:

■ Kadant Black Clawson Inc. has an order from Fujian Qingshan Paper Industry Co. Ltd., in Qingzhou, Shaxian, Fujian Province, China, for an 800-admt/d OCC system to process a mixture of AOCC, EOCC and LOCC to produce corrugated medium board. www.kadant.com.

■ Metso Paper will supply high-consistency ozone bleaching systems to Daio Paper Corp., Japan, and Sniace Group, Spain. The total value of the orders is about EUR 30 million. Start-ups are scheduled for April 2006 and February 2007, respectively. Daio’s Mishima mill produces 1,600 tonnes/day of ECF bleached hardwood pulp for its own paper machines. Sniace’s Torrelavega mill’s bleaching system will become a TCF process with production increased from 180 to 240 tonnes/day of dissolving sulfite pulp from Eucalyptus globulus and kongo species. www.metso.com.

■ Norampac permanently closed the 150,000-ton/year PM No. 1 at its kraft linerboard mill in Red Rock, ON, on Sept. 22. The fate of PM No. 2, a 300,000-ton/year machine, is not yet decided. The stronger Canadian dollar and rising energy and wood fiber costs in Northern Ontario led to the decision. The mill is 60 years old. Between 125 and 175 jobs will be lost. Norampac owns eight containerboard mills and 24 corrugated products plants in Canada, the United States and France. It is jointly owned by Domtar Inc. and Cascades Inc. www.cascades.com.

■ Canada’s Western Forest Products Inc., Duncan, BC, said it will focus on the solid wood business including logging from Crown timberlands and the manufacture of lumber. It is in advanced discussions with people interested in its Squamish pulp mill – not considered core to its business — but no agreement has yet been reached.

■ Tembec Inc. has permanently shut the pressurized groundwood line and a paper machine at the St. Francisville, LA, paper mill. The mill’s restructuring is expected to improve profitability by $US17 million a year. Tembec said it was probably going to cut production at its Ontario and Quebec pulp operations by up to 50,000 tonnes in the next three months.

■ The European Association of Makers of Corrugated Base Papers says that Europe’s corrugated market has shut 150,000 tonnes of production capacity since January 2005. The closure of four more mills with a total capacity of 350,000 tonnes has been announced. The industry in Europe faces similar problems to those in North America especially high costs for transport, energy and raw materials.

■ Recent flood prevention work at Blue Ridge Paper Products, Inc.’s Canton, NC, mill was supported by a grant from the State of North Carolina. The work involved the repair  and improved protection for the mill’s wastewater treatment plant which also serves the town.

■ Stora Enso increased the brightness level of its Gusto® sheet-fed coated fine paper to 90 GE. The acid-free grade is made with gloss and satin finishes. www.storaenso.com/na.

■ Xethanol Corp., a biotech driven ethanol production company, has finalized a co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI, to genetically engineer proprietary yeast strains for the efficient production of xylitol, a natural sweetener. The feedstock for the process is derived from cellulosic biomass, such as wood chips and corn stalks. XTI will  have the right to commercialize technology developed under the CRADA. XTI currently holds a licence for a patented fermentation process to convert xylose into ethanol and xylitol, a low calorie sugar. Although it has been used in the US since the 1960s, demand has been curtailed by high cost and limited, unreliable supply. www.xethanol.com, www.fpl.fs.fed.us. PI

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