Image for Gunns woos Asian giants

TWO potential European joint-venture partners in the Tamar Valley pulp mill have confirmed they are no longer interested in the project.

It now appears the two most likely potential partners with pulp-mill proponent Gunns Ltd are Asian-based pulp and paper companies Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd and Asia Pulp and Paper.

Singapore-based Asia Pacific Resources owns plantations across Asia, and pulp mills in China at Shandong.

Its website says it plans to be “one of the largest, best-managed, most profitable and sustainable pulp and paper companies in the world”.

Asia Pacific Resources and Indonesia-based Asia Pulp and Paper have faced criticism in the past for clearing native forests in Sumatra and for accumulating billions in debt in the late 1990s and early 2000s, adding fuel to the Asian economic crisis.

Late Monday night, the Federal Government confirmed in Senate Estimates in Canberra that it had recent discussions with Gunns about helping its foreign partner with financial guarantees.

Under questioning from Tasmanian Liberal senator Richard Colbeck and Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, officials from the federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry confirmed they met Gunns.

Officials from the Government’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation arm were also present.

Last week, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings said it would be appropriate for EFIC to facilitate future pulp exports by helping a foreign-owned joint-venture partner with financial risk guarantees.

Yesterday, Leif Broden, chairman of Swedish forest products company Sodra, re-affirmed that his company was definitely “not participating” in the $2.5 billion project. Finnish paper mill and energy company UPM also has confirmed it has “no specific plans in Tasmania” and is “not engaged in negotiations with Gunns”.

Full Sue Neales story HERE

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Picture: from HERE

Earlier on Tasmanianian Times: UPM: We are not engaged in negotiations

Tasmanian forest protesters halt cable logging in Tyenna Valley to highlight moratorium deadline

Today conservationists have halted cable logging operations near Canaways creek in the Tyenna Valley, to call on Forestry Tasmania to implement the moratorium on high conservation value forests by the 15th of March.

“One protester has climbed a cable logger and attached themselves while twenty other activists make a stand in the coupe. Forestry coupe TN026C is within the boundary of the moratorium area and is part of an important water catchment for the Tyenna and Maydena communities” said Lily Leahy, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

“By signing the statement of principles, both state and federal governments have agreed to see the moratorium in place by the 15th of March. Yet Forestry Tasmania have begun operations three weeks away from that deadline with logging in the coupe expected to continue past that deadline” said Lily Leahy.

Still Wild Still Threatened have been contacted by local Canaways creek residents who have raised serious concerns over water quality issues surrounding clearfelling near the Canaways creek and the effects from noise pollution for the expected three months of forestry operation.

UPDATE:

Tasmanian forest protesters halt cable logging in Tyenna Valley to highlight moratorium deadline

Today conservationists have shut down cable logging in a high conservation value coupe, TN026C in the Canaways creek for the full day. No arrests have been made in today’s peaceful protest. This protest called on state and federal government to implement the moratorium on high conservation value forests by the 15th of March by ensuring Forestry Tasmania is taking the necessary steps towards that moratorium deadline.

“Still Wild Still Threatened is highly concerned about comments from the forest industry and forest talks facilitator Bill Kealty, that there is no moratorium deadline. This directly contradicts statements made by Federal Minister Tony Burke, who along with the state government, signed onto the statement of principles including a progressive moratorium over three months with that process beginning from 15th of December. The understanding of the Tasmanian community is that all of our spectacular high conservation value forests will be in a moratorium as promised by the state and federal governments by the March 15th deadline” said Lily Leahy, spokesperson for Still Wild Still Threatened.

Still Wild Still Threatened is a grassroots community organisation campaigning for the immediate protection of Tasmania’s ancient forests and the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forestry industry in Tasmania.

http://www.stillwildstillthreatened.org
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