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Madrid mill set to boost Europe's paper recycling effort

As European paper and board mills announce cutbacks and closures, Holmen Paper are set to announce the inauguration date for their new 300,000 tonne capacity mill in Madrid.

The company has collected enough material on site to allow for the run-up and first few weeks’ production, with the UK expected to begin supplying the mill by the middle of the year.

Holmen Paper recycling manager Charlie Thompson said: “When up to full capacity, we will be sending 20,000 tonnes of paper plus a quarter from the UK. This year will probably see 40,000 tonnes leave from our facility in Chatham, Kent, with that figure rising to 80,000 in 2007.”

From increased council contracts, the company hopes to increase annual throughput from wastepaper collections and shipping operations from 100,000 tonnes to 280,000 in the next five years.

Thompson added: “Trials at the plant have been ongoing for a long time, but everything seems to be in place now. There will be a meeting next week, from which, we should have a definitive date for the inauguration of the plant.”

The news will come as a timely boost to the paper and board recycling industry in Europe, with the Smurfit Kappa Group this week announcing that it is in talks with union representatives about making cuts at European plants.

This follows the announcement by Stora Enso at the end of last year that it is to close four mills, sell six and cut its workforce, stating that “the pulp and paper industry is generally suffering from poor profitability. Several of the challenges faced in Europe include structural overcapacity and rising input costs.”

Abitibi also recently announced that it is to close the smallest of its three UK newsprint making machines at Bridgwater mill on Ellesmere Port.

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