Media reports June 2009

30 June Gunns has not finalised terms of agreement for a joint venture equity partner for its Bell Bay pulp mill. But, Gunns yesterday told the ASX that it had made a decision to proceed with one company, understood to be from Europe, to develop a joint venture agreement for the $2.2 billion project. In April, Gunns announced that it hoped to finalise the terms of agreement by June. The Examiner

29 June Take away all the controversy and emotion and we have a first class pulp operation being planned for northern Tasmania which will yield big profits for Gunns. Now, of course, there is still a lot to happen. But if Gunns is able to get a European paper operator to enter detailed talks on a 50/50 joint venture, Gunns have clearly been able to satisfy the European group that this is an operation that will be based on plantation timber and will not pose a serious pollution problem for the Tamar River. The European group clearly believes that once the facts are known the controversy will subside. Business Spectator

29 June TWO thirds of Tasmanians do not want Gunns' pulp mill if it means foreign control of water and forests, a new survey shows. The EMRS poll was released yesterday as Sydney businessman and anti-mill campaigner Geoffrey Cousins called on the Federal Government to stay at arm's length from the proposed mill -- and slammed the presence of forestry bosses on a panel reviewing the industry."The European company Sodra stated that it wouldn't finance the project unless it used totally chlorine-free technology and certified plantation timber only, neither of which is proposed by Gunns. But our Government apparently says `Who cares? Build it anyway and use some taxpayer money to do it'," Mr Cousins said. The Mercury

29 June In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Gunns said that the company had made a decision to proceed with one company to develop a `Joint Venture Agreement' for the project. Gunns said it was `moving forward positively with the preferred partner on that basis. In parallel with the joint venture process, Gunns has continued to progress negotiations with project finance banks with market conditions in the sector having recently improved.'Gunns said. The Examiner

29 June A new survey shows that two-thirds of Tasmanians do not want Gunns' Bell Bay project to proceed if there is foreign control of Tasmanian air, water and forests. TAP into a Better Tasmania commissioned the EMRS poll. TAP spokesman Bob McMahon used the results to hit out at Federal Forestry Minister Tony Burke, who last week endorsed Gunns' project in Parliament during an update on the industry. ``The federal Minister has gone out on a limb and ignored the agriculture and fisheries responsibilities of his own portfolio by publicly backing Gunns' proposed pulp mill for the Tamar Valley,'' Mr McMahon said. `At risk are many wine-making, organic food and horticultural small businesses that thrive in the region and 2600 tourism-related businesses in Launceston and Tamar Valley.' The Examiner

25 June Taxpayers appear certain to fund a multi-million-dollar bailout of the pulp and paper industry, with the controversial Gunns Ltd Tasmanian pulp mill a likely beneficiary. Forestry Minister Tony Burke yesterday endorsed the $2 billion Gunns project, which has yet to receive final federal environmental clearance, and pledged help to "secure investment and jobs" for the industry. The timing of his comments will help Gunns shore up investment for the mill, which has struggled to find finance, while aiding the company's current negotiations with prospective joint venture partners. The Austalian

25 June A forest industry ministerial roundtable will be set up by the Federal Government to back the industry. Federal Forestry Minister Tony Burke told Parliament yesterday the group of timber bosses would help his push to attract investment and expand the forest industry. Greens senator Bob Brown said the speech showed the Federal Government was preparing to subsidise the Tamar Valley pulp mill. "The most significant value-adding investment proposed for Australia's forest industry is the Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill," Mr Burke said. "At up to $2 billion the mill would be the largest-ever private sector investment in Tasmania. "Let me state quite clearly that I want to see the Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill built, provided the requirements of federal environmental laws are met." The Mercury

20 June Despite widespread opposition, forest giant Gunns Ltd is still pressing ahead with its proposed pulp mill in the pristine Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania. But the campaign against it shows no signs of going away. (The article summarises the state of play) The Green Left

19 June Gunns executive chairman John Gay has been named on a Federal Government strategy panel that will undertake a comprehensive review of Australia's pulp and paper industry to encourage innovation and attract investment in pulp and paper manufacturing in Australia. It is to report back to Innovation and Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr by November. The Examiner

18 June Former Premier Paul Lennon called on the Launceston City Council to pressure the Federal Government to finalise the last requirements for Gunns' $2.2 billion pulp mill project. Mr Lennon said the project could stave off a recession, referencing the ITS Global report, which forecast significant economic benefits. Alderman van Zetten said "Our reason for withdrawing support for the mill was that the five major issues of transport, air quality, health, water and compliance [were not] thoroughly investigated and addressed by the fast-track assessment process". Alderman Jeremy Ball said "On page 8 of that report [ITS Global] it states that it is not a cost benefit analysis. It was only asked to look at the benefits of the project, not the costs or risks. "That has been the problem with Mr Lennon's approach both inside government and now outside government - he has never wanted to honestly acknowledge the risks associated with the project and they are real." Examiner

15 June A study by Bruce Felmingham and IMC-Link should dispel the myth once and for all that Tasmania's forest industry is heavily subsidised, says forestry chief Hans Drielsma. The report showed that the forest industry generated $56 for every dollar received in government subsidies compared to $15 for the tourism industry. Forestry Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards said that the report had been commissioned to get accurate information on the level of government subsidisation. Examiner

15 June Taxpayers get little return from the state's tourism industry subsidies, a study has found. The study was commissioned by the forestry industry in response to criticism that logging survived on subsidies. A report commissioned by the Wilderness Society and Environment Tasmania, said more than $630 million in subsidies went to the Tasmanian logging industry over the past decade. Forest Industries of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards and Forestry Tasmania executive general manager Hans Drielsma thumbed their noses at critics. The Mercury

13 June The Wilderness Society believes a Swedish pulp manufacturing company Sodra, is unlikely to invest in Gunns' northern Tasmanian pulp mill. A posting on Sodra's website reveals it will not invest in a pulp mill that is not certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council and uses other than plantation timber. "If Gunns was to be able to build a mill with a company like Sodra, then they would have to redesign and rethink the entire pulp mill proposal," said Mr Oosting. Yahoo Finance

12 June Gunns $2.2 billion pulp mill at Bell Bay would have an emissions stack higher than originally planned, a pulp mill design report shows. There was conjecture that Swedish company Sodra may become Gunns' joint-venture equity partner. The Wilderness Society said yesterday it had been approached by an Australian consultant, Robert Kelman, on behalf of Sodra to discuss the mill. The Mercury

11 June Gunns is considering a takeover of timber projects run by its collapsed rival Timbercorp, amid warnings from Timbercorp's administrator that it may move to wind up more of the company's managed investment schemes. Farm online

11 June Gunns is on the verge of signing a joint venture deal with Swedish firm Sodra to build its $2 billion Tasmanian pulp mill. Sodra, one of the world's biggest producers of pulp for paper, has commissioned a consultant to report on the mill project ahead of an imminent decision on a joint venture. It is understood Sodra has hired Sydney-based consultants Evans & Peck to report on the position of stakeholders, including opponents of the mill, the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation, before making a final commitment. The Australian