Media reports for July 2008


25 July Hydro Tasmania has agreed to supply additional water to Gunns so it can offer irrigation to land owners along the proposed pulp mill water pipeline. Hydro had previously told Gunns it could not guarantee supply because of operational reasons but now says "the level of surety of water delivery to Gunns is very high, much higher than to most irrigators". On March 21, the four rivers supplying Lake Trevallyn had a natural daily water flow of 77 megalitres, compared with Gunns' proposed daily extraction of up to 72 megalitres. Gunns has extended the pipeline easement compensation deadline from July 23 to August 23. The Mercury

 24 July "Rumours of new backers for Gunns project had been circulating in Europe" says Mr Gottliebsen in an online newsletter, the Business Spectator. Mr Gottliebsen is believed to be close to Gunns executive chairman John Gay. Gunns shares closed down 0.81 per cent. The Mercury

23 July Gunns is required to submit a further four modules and the federal Department of Environment must approve the scope of effluent modelling in Bass Strait and the identity of the organisation to undertake the modelling. Gunns has not sought an extension to the October 4 deadline for Commonwealth approval of the company's environmental impact management plan. CEO John Gay acknowledged that the targeting of banks by anti mill campaigners has made it difficult to get finance. The Mercury

21 July The latest Access Economics report on Tasmania says the pulp mill "looks a less likely goer with every passing day". The Mercury

17 July A new hurdle has been raised to Gunns Limited's pulp mill, with opponents claiming up to a third of affected landowners in the Tamar Valley will refuse access for the project's vital water pipeline. Spokesman Peter Cundall said their opposition would block the $2 billion project. The Age

17 July Plans to build a water pipeline to supply the proposed $2 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill have stalled with more than 20km of the 38km pipeline blocked by landholder opposition. The Mercury

16 July Gunns has suffered from low global prices for woodchips and a recent drop-off in demand for its agricultural managed-investment schemes. However, record prices for eucalyptus pulp, up about one-third (in $US terms) over the past year will benefit Gunns if its pulp mill ever inhabits the Tamar Valley. Gunns has a less-than-transparent approach to corporate governance. The Australian

25 July Hydro Tasmania has agreed to supply additional water to Gunns Limited so it can offer irrigation to land owners along the proposed pulp mill water pipeline.Mercury

24 July Forestry firm Gunns' controversial Tasmanian pulp mill project could still go ahead after the company said it was on the verge of sealing a new funding deal with a syndicate of European bankers. Pulp and Paper News

24 July Gunns Limited was close to completing a new deal for pulp mill finance, a leading financial commentator said yesterday.Mercury

16 July "Gunns is in trouble" says Buck Emberg from TAP. The planned water pipeline to its pulp mill may be sunk by a lack of landowners willing to let it through their properties. ABC

16 July   The Premier says it's too early to say if the Tasmanian Government will help the timber company Gunns acquire land for its planned pulp mill pipeline. ABC

16 July Gunns has suffered from a drop-off in demand for its agricultural managed-investment schemes but stands to benefit from record prices for eucalyptus pulp, up about one-third (in $US terms) over the past year, if its contentious $2 billion pulp mill ever inhabits the Tamar Valley. The Australian

12 July Legal advice to landowners along Gunns' pulp mill pipeline route points out serious threats and potential problems for those who sign up to Gunns' offer. TAP spokesman Bob McMahon said it appears the offer was designed to fail. "Perhaps Gunns has no intention of going ahead with the pulp mill but wants the market to believe the company is still serious about the proposal, or perhaps it is trying to trigger compulsory acquisition of the land by the Tasmanian Government". The Mercury

11 July Gunns is confident it will secure all of the easements needed along the East Tamar for its pulp mill water and effluent pipelines before July 23. The Examiner

10 July The Tasmanian Greens today called on Gunns Ltd to clarify under what agreement they were authorised to on-sell water from their proposed Pulp Mill pipeline and also asked John Gay to explain how Gunns will sell the proposition of blue green algae affected water being used to fill stock troughs.

10 July Safety concerns at Gunns' sawmills raised. An ex-worker says he has raised concerns about equipment that was wobbly, bald tyres, as well as electrical boxes that came into contact with water. Workplace Standards are investigating. ABC

10 July John Gay has moved to sweeten the deal for landowners affected by the planned $90 million water pipeline saying that if possible Gunns would supply landowners with water. The offer to landowners close on July 23. The Mercury

7 July The lower Murray is on death row and the only way off is to use  Tasmanian water. It can be piped to Melbourne and Melbourne's water from Gippsland can be diverted to the Murray via a short tunnel through the Great Divide. For the past four weeks the Tasmanian Government has been negotiating with a consortium to contract up to 1000 gigalitres for the project possibly worth $300 million a year. No wonder David Bartlett has been running cold on the Gunns pulp mill deal. Apart from its environmental negatives, the woodchipping royalties from Gunns from the destruction of Tasmanias pristine forests is only $23 million. It is believed the proposed royalties from pulp do not reflect the real value of the resource. The Age

7 July The Tasmanian Greens' proposal for a community-owned sawmill operation at Scottsdale has been welcomed by Gunns. John Gay expected it would access timber from the State but the Greens say it would be more appropriate to use timber destined for woodchips. The Examiner

6 July Fund raising efforts by Gunns for its proposed pulp mill could be affected by the Federal Government's tightening of foreign investment in resource companies. ABC

5 July Police are investigating allegations that a senior Tasmanian lawyer was promised a key appointment in return for free legal work for a prominent government figure. Opposition parties said it was "extremely serious" and that depending on the outcome of investigations, it may warrant the recall of parliament or even an early election. The Australian

4 July Gunns has been accused by the federal Government of breaching a $4.5million grant deal by retrenching 130 workers whose jobs were meant to be saved by the assistance. Gunns wrote to Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr on June 30 seeking release from a clause that made the funding contingent upon no redundancies. Gunns doesn't believe that they will have to pay back any of the $2million already received. The Australian

4 July The State Government has issued a scathing rebuke to Gunns Ltd over its decision to shed 129 jobs and close one of its Scottsdale sawmills. The Mercury

4 July John Gay met with the Premier last Friday to argue the case for extending the sovereign risk agreement but kept quiet about closing a sawmill and job losses made known on Monday. Economic Development Minister Paula Wriedt angry. Greens say government was duped. The Examiner

3 July Anger over 129 lost jobs as Gunns shuts mill. CFMEU secretary Scott McLean said workers had heard the news in the media. "It is an appalling way to treat people ... it's just bloody awful". The Mercury

3 July Gunns is seeking a joint venture partner where the planned pulp mill would be operated under a separate company with Gunns and any partners each holding a percentage of the shares. Pulp and paper industry spokesman Robert Eastment said the announcement "shows an improvement in corporate responsibility by Gunns, which did not announce to the ASX that the ANZ Bank had withdrawn." The Mercury

3 July Gunns say they are continuing “active discussions”' with a banking syndicate which involves “several components”, including traditional project debt finance, export credit facilities and equipment finance. Credit Suisse say the mill would add $2 to the share price, while ABN Amro say $1.30. Gunns has reported sales of $122 million for its agricultural managed investment scheme well down from $152 million the previous year. The Australian

3 July Talking it up. Gunns chairman John Gay said "all approvals required for the project remain on track." "The project has been assessed exhaustively at state and federal levels and demonstrated that it meets all relevant environmental and social requirements." "The supply of wood to the mill will not be sourced from old-growth forests." "The mill will add value to forests which are currently harvested and exported as woodchips from Tasmania, with no extra harvesting required.” The company has "high-quality plantation estate and certification credentials". Gunns expects to start construction of the mill before 30 November.

2 July 1000 people celebrating saving the Franklin River 25 years ago pressure the Premier, David Bartlett to scuttle Gunns' proposed pulp mill. "If the proponent can't meet the requirements of the permit and gain finance and substantially commence the project by 30th of November this year then The Tasmanian Government will no longer be involved in this project" the Premier said. ABC

2 July Head of Gunns, 65 year old John Gay could step down before construction starts on the controversial $2 billion pulp mill project. Wilderness Society spokesman Paul Oosting called for new company leadership which fully appreciated the environmental, social and economic problems associated with their operations. The Mercury

2 July It is 25 years since a band of protesters won their campaign to block the construction of a Tasmanian dam, the protest that turned the tide of global green opinion. Gunns, which wants to build the pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, has just been given another six months to finalise private finance for the project. The mill will be heavily subsidised by the Tasmanian government. Bob Brown described it yesterday as "every bit as ugly as the dam". Read more from Britains daily newspaper, The Independent

1 July Gunns Plantations make $93 million in Managed Investment Schemes sales. The Herald Sun

1 July Full-blown construction of the Tamar Valley pulp mill will have to start by November 30 for Gunns to qualify for a sovereign risk agreement. Meanwhile, Gunns shares have dropped to their lowest level in more than five years. ABC

1 July Premier Bartlett agrees to extend a $15 million sovereign risk agreement to November 08 for Gunns to begin construction. He believes that community divisions should not last for too much longer. The Examiner

1 July Bob Hawke has attacked the pulp mill proposed for Tasmania, describing its environmental impact as "devastating". The Australian

1 July The pulp mill threatens to reignite divisions in Tasmania to a level not seen since the Franklin debate. The Australian


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