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Impact assessment completed for massive Finnish mill


December 14, 2015
By Cindy Macdonald

Finnpulp’s environmental impact assessment for the bioproducts mill planned for Kuopio, Finland, is complete.

This moves the 1.2 million ton/yr pulp mill one step closer to approval.

The goal of the environmental impact assessment is to clarify how the planned investment would change the habitats and natural values in the area, prior to commencing the process of acquiring the necessary environmental permits.

If implemented, the Finnpulp project would be the largest softwood pulp mill in the world. The annual production capacity of the mill will be 1.2 million tons of pulp, plus 60,000 tons of tall oil and one terawatt hour (TWh) of bioelectricity to the national electricity grid. The mill will use 6.7 million cubic meters of raw wood material per year.

Based on expert statements, the impact assessment details the effects of the mill on the area’s waterways, air quality and nature. It also entails reports on the effects of operations on the daily lives of the people inhabiting the area, regional traffic, noise level and the visual landscape of the Sorsasalo area.

According to Finnpulp, the report states that the environmental impacts of Finnpulp’s facility project on the waterways, air and noise level are manageable. The ecological waterway rating of Kallavesi will remain at good level regardless of increased eutrophication in Kelloselkä. The facility area will, to an extent, increase the noise level at the residential and recreational areas located on the shore of Virtasalmi but noise pollution is otherwise minimal. The planned bioproduct mill’s impact on air quality is low.

As the natural impacts were assessed, reports Finnpulp, it became clear that there is no exceptionally valuable nature or biota requiring protection in the area. Recreational activities in the area are expected to remain at their current level. There will be some reduction in the presence of ice in Kelloselkä in the winter time.

In addition to experts, local residents were consulted during the research phase, via residence surveys and two events open to the public. Two small discussion group sessions were held with the operators in the area. The report is public and available online on the websites of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and Finnpulp at www.ymparisto.fi/finnpulpyva and www.finnpulp.fi/yva.html.