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Sappi Minnesota Pulp Mill To Produce Chemical Cellulose

Sappi Ltd., South Africa, is investing $170 million to convert its Sappi Fine Paper North America kraft pulp mill in Cloquet, Minn., for production of chemical cellulose. The pulp will be shipped primarily to China, Indonesia and India, where it will be processed into rayon fiber for various textile applications.

According to Mike Schultz, project director in charge of the conversion, Cloquet Mill is the most modern pulp mill in North America and uses batch cooking technology, which is suited for making chemical cellulose. "We will still have the ability to make kraft pulp if we choose to, but the intent will be to begin producing chemical cellulose as quickly as we can and produce as much as the market will support," he said.

The converted mill is expected to produce 330,000 metric tons of chemical cellulose annually. The pulp processing chemicals will be recovered and reused. Byproducts can be used in products such as pickling salt, sweetener for gum, and other products.

May/June 2012