The first bale of eucalyptus pulp produced at Suzano Pulp and Paper’s Imperatriz Unit in Maranhão, Brazil, came off the line as scheduled on Dec. 30, 2013. The pulp line is one the largest in the world, with production capacity of 1.5 million tons.
“This is a very special moment and represents an important stride for the company. We have overcome the first challenge, which was production startup, and now our teams are focused on the plant’s growth,” says Walter Schalka, CEO of Suzano Pulp and Paper, pointing out that the learning curve of the project is guaranteed in contracts with equipment suppliers.
The industrial plant is a benchmark in technology and has two dryers and two lime kilns, which ensure greater operational flexibility and stability.
The pulp mill project began April 2011. Valmet (formerly Metso) delivered the main parts of a greenfield pulp mill comprising wood handling, cooking plant and fiber line, pulp drying and baling, evaporation, power boiler, recovery boiler, causticizing and lime kiln. The delivery also included Metso's automation solution for all process areas.
Wood for the mill in Maranhão will be supplied by the company’s own forests, the Vale Florestar Program and partnerships with local producers.
The mill’s pulp will mainly supply the European and U.S. markets. To ship the pulp, Suzano will use its own 28-kilometer railroad, the North-South railroad and the Carajás railroad, the last two administered by Vale. It will be exported from the Port of Itaqui. “The shipping logistics of the plant is one of the project's key competitive advantages," says Schalka.
The planned industrial investment was for this project was US$2.3 billion. The forest investment is US$575 million.
Employment generation is estimated at 3,500 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs. Suzano invested in training programs for locals, focused on four fronts: Capacitar, a set of cnstruction, industrial assembly and services courses that trained nearly 7,000 people to work in the construction of the new unit; the Pulp and Paper Vocational course, which trained 226 operators, of whom 108 were hired to work in the production line at the unit; the Industrial Maintenance Specialization Course, which trained 144 professionals, of whom 57 are currently working in the unit; and the Forest Machinery Operator Course, which trained 285 people, of whom 149 are already working in eucalyptus harvest and wood supply.