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One mill to get de-inking system: Abitibi gears up for recycling.

Abitibi gears up for recycling

One mill to get de-inking system

Abitibi-Price has announced it intends to build a de-inking facility at one of its Canadian newsprint mills.

A de-inking facility will enable the chosen mill to recycle paper.

In a news release, Bernd Koken, Abitibi-Price's chairman and chief executive officer, said the selection of the location will be based on projected returns, as well as on final engineering and fibre-sourcing studies.

The location will be announced by late fall.

"We are committed to helping solve the landfill problems in North America," stated Koken. "We want to be sure, however, that we site this facility correctly. It's an expensive proposition - probably in the range of $50 million to $80 million in construction and machine costs - and we have to be certain of supply and transportation arrangements, as well."

Abitibi-Price has eight newsprint mills in Canada, three of which are in Northern Ontario - two in Thunder Bay and another in Iroquois Falls.

In a telephone interview, Anne Johnston Hall, manager of corporate information at Abitibi-Price's head office in Toronto, said, "All our Canadian mills are under consideration."

All of the Abitibi-Price mills are close to fibre supplies, but far from centres of urban waste, she noted.

The decision must take into account how to get waste paper to the mill and what other de-inking facilities are in the same geographical location, she explained. "It's very complex."

However, Johnston Hall added, "There will always be a place for primary fibre."

Various estimates say strong fibre, such as black spruce, can be recycled up to seven times, before turning to "mush."

Weaker fibre from other species might only be able to be recycled three or four times.

After the de-inking facility is built, there will probably not be any further recycling facilities built by the company.

"We wouldn't expect any further Canadian de-inking," said Johnston Hall.

She explained that Canadian de-inking facilities currently planned or operating by all newsprint companies should be able to accomodate all of the paper available for recycling in the country.

Future capacity would probably have to include waste paper brought from the United States, she said.

Johnston Hall noted consumers are demanding recycled newsprint, and publishers have to ask suppliers for it.

"The pressure is really from the general public."

In his prepared statement, Koken said, "Given the turbulent times in the industry, compounded by the issue of recycling, Abitibi-Price must be very good at doing well in spite of adverse conditions - by committing itself more than ever to the wise spending of shareholders' money."

He noted that recycling is not the only environmentally correct action for a North American forest products company.

For example, Koken pointed out that in June Abitibi-Price planted its 50- millionth tree at its Iroquois Falls woodlands operation. "It's an exciting milestone and symbolic of our commitment to the strengthening of our Canadian forest heritage."

The millions of trees planted annually at Iroquois Falls are only a fraction of the approximately 20 million trees planted each year by the company, he added.

"Recycling and reforestation are partners in the provision of fibre to meet the world's need for paper."

Abitibi-Price's Canadian de-inking installation will be in addition to those previously announced at Augusta, Georgia, and Claiborne, Alabama.

With the addition of the Canadian operation, 40 per cent of the company's rated newsprint capacity will contain recycled fibre.

The Augusta mill will begin using recycled fibre in September. It is the first North American mill to be so retrofitted.

The Alabama mill, a new facility, started up this year. Its de-inking plant is expected to begin operation in 1991.

Throughout North America, many levels of government are legislating the use of recycled paper.

In Toronto, beginning in early 1991, newspapers will not be permitted to be sold in sidewalk boxes unless they contain recycled fibre.

Although she said she wasn't referring to the Toronto decision in particular, Johnston Hall said it is unfortunate when politicians get involved because the industry is already moving towards recycling.

She believes some legislation is passed that is popular, but without an understanding of the facts of the industry.

For example, she said recycling facilities take a long time to build.

Currently in North America, de-inking facilities are becoming more popular. There are nine

In North America nine projects are headed for production.
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Title Annotation:News and Features; Abitibi-Price Inc.
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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