Mr Eastment, pulp mills and cities

By Metternich
Reproduced from Tasmanian Times


On the morning of Friday August 27th, pulp and paper analyst Robert Eastment was interviewed live on ABC936 by talkback host Tim Cox about the forestry roundtable talks, and Gunns proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.

During his interview Mr Eastment claimed that there are pulp mills now being built in the middle of cities in Europe and nobody cares because they’re quite comfortable with it; er, you know, the technology is such that you can put this sort of manufacturing facility in the middle of large areas, um, that sort of understanding is still not widespread in Tasmania.

Mr Eastment’s claim that there are pulp mills now being built in the middle of cities in Europe and nobody cares, was immediately challenged by Greens Senate candidate and Tamar Valley resident Peter Whish-Wilson. Whish-Wilson said the only new pulp mill he knew of that had been built recently anywhere near a European city was the Stendal mill in East Germany, a mill that has had more than its fair share of problems, and is well-known as the source of foul odours that impact badly on surrounding residents. Whish-Wilson called on Eastment to clarify his claim and point to pulp mills that are being built now in the middle of cities in Europe.

Robert Eastment responded Monday morning, August 30th, by providing ABC936 with a list of the pulp mills that he was referring to last Friday.

Unfortunately for Mr Eastment, there is a major problem with his list; every European pulp mill on the list has been operational for decades, in some cases more than 100 years, which is at odds with the claim that these mills are being constructed “now”. The list also includes Chinese and Uruguayan examples that obviously are not located in the middle of cities in Europe, and a couple of the mills listed are located in towns containing less than 25,000 people, a far cry from the cities that this list is supposed to be referring to.

Varkaus (Finland): Varkaus is a town of about 20,000 people where pulp production began in 1915.

Kaukas (Finland): Kaukas is the name of the mill, not the town. Mill is actually located in Lappeenranta, and was first established elsewhere in 1873 and moved to Lapeenranta in 1892, beginning pulp production in 1897.

Oulu (Finland): Pulp production began at Oulu in 1935.

Lovholmen (Sweden): Start of pulp-making cannot be determined in time frame.

Munksund (Sweden): Pulp making began in 1928.

Skohall (Sweden): Actually Skoghall. Pulping began in 1919.

Setubal (Portugal): New paper mill opened in 2009, but the pulp mill has operated since 1964.

Ence (Spain): Ence is a Spanish company rather than a mill. The company began pulp operations in Spain in 1957.

Rosenthal (Germany): Began pulping operations in 1883.

Saillat (France): Began operations in 1894.

Rizhao (China): Opened new pulp mill operation in 2002.

Fray Bentos (Uruguay): Pulp mill began operating in 2007 following a diplomatic spat between Uruguay and Argentina, and an anti-mill demonstration by 40,000 Argentinians.

Looking at Mr Eastment’s list, which includes pulp mills that have been operating on the same site for over 100 years, it is obvious that he has answered a question about apples with a list of oranges and lemons; when asked to prove his claim that pulp mills are now being built in the middle of cities in Europe, he has provided a list of mills that were built generations ago, or outside of Europe.

Robert Eastment has provided a completely inadequate explanation that answers a completely different question to the one raised by Mr Eastment himself, and subsequently by Peter Whish-Wilson.

Why has Mr Eastment implicitly criticised Tasmanians for not understanding this situation, when it is clear that Mr Eastment is completely confused about a topic that he himself raised.

Mr Eastment’s claims appear to be nothing more than badly over-egging the sauce.

From Robert Eastment’s website IndustryEdge

IndustryEdge is built around a group of highly experienced professionals capable of addressing the complex issues facing the pulp and paper industries.

Robert Eastment is a Director of IndustryEdge and is a professional economist and forester. He has a strong background in the corporate finance sector in Australia, as well as Asia and Europe. Robert is the editor of the monthly market intelligence report Pulp and Paper Edge, the annual Pulp and Paper Strategic Review and the bi-annual Forest and Wood Strategic Review. He has an intimate knowledge of the pulp and paper sector in Australia and New Zealand, as well as having worked closely with a range of companies in the forest and wood processing sectors.

Independent industry specialists from a wide range of disciplines regularly contribute to IndustryEdge analysis, consulting services and publications, supplementing our core team and enabling us to analyse and report on all aspects of industry development and markets.