Monday, June 27, 2011

Cascades invests in New York containerboard mill

Cascades invests in New York containerboard mill
June 27, 2011
Cascades Inc. said its Norampac division will invest in Greenpac Mill LLC, a corporation created with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Jamestown Container and one other industry partner for the purpose of constructing and operating a state of the art containerboard mill to be located in New York state.

The Greenpac mill will be constructed for a total cost of $430 million on property located adjacent to an existing Norampac facility in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Greenpac will manufacture a light weight linerboard, made with 100 percent recycled fibers, on a single machine having a width of 328 inches, with an annual production capacity of 540,000 short tons. This machine will be one of the largest of its kind in North America.

Fiber supply will be carried out by Cascades and its recovery operations. Sources of old corrugated containers are numerous and significant in the region where the mill will be built, which will impact favorably Greenpac's raw material procurement, the company said. With regards to sales, customers have already been secured for more than 80 percent – or 435,000 short tons - of production. Norampac converting operations will purchase 170,000 short tons of the production.

"The investment that we are announcing today is the result of the combined efforts of Cascades and its partners and is consistent with our development strategy which aims to position the company amongst the leaders in terms of productivity and profitability in the packaging and tissue sectors," said Alain Lemaire, president and CEO of Cascades. "As we have stated in the past, we strongly believe that Cascades' future success will be dependent on our ability to offer high performance innovative products which will better meet the needs of our customers, at a cost that will be amongst the lowest in the industry. Moreover, the innovative structure of this partnership will allow us to reach this objective while maintaining the financial flexibility achieved through recent divestitures. We are also confident in regards to industry's mid and long-term perspectives and we strongly believe that Greenpac will contribute positively to our net profitability once full ramp-up is achieved."

Marc-André Dépin, president and CEO of Norampac, said the Greenpac mill will include numerous technological advances, making it a unique project of its kind in North America.

“In particular, the linerboard that will be produced on the new machine will be able to achieve optimal strength while maintaining a low basis weight thereby allowing our customers to better respond to the growing trend towards lightweight packaging," Depin said.

Moreover, the building and the machinery will be designed for optimal energy efficiency and many operations will be automated. Process water will be treated and reused in order to reduce consumption as much as possible and the state of the art management system for recycled fibers will have a positive effect on the environmental performance of the mill.

The paper machine will be manufactured by Metso, Voith will provide the stock preparation equipment and anaerobic effluent treatment plant and Siemens will provide the power and control technology.

Financing and Partnership

The $430 million cost of the project will be financed by a $140 million equity investment in Greenpac of, which $83.6 million will be invested by Cascades, $28.3 million will be invested by the Caisse and $28.1 million will be invested by Jamestown Container and another industry partner. The remainder of the financing will be in the form of debt, including senior debt in the amount of $228.9 million, which was led by GE Capital, and subordinated debt in the amount of $61 million.

Senior debt will be provided by an international banking syndicate managed by GE Capital. The subordinated debt will be provided by the Caisse and will serve to bridge expected refundable tax credits.

The construction of the mill will create 108 new jobs in the State of New York, as well as contribute to the economical development of the region.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New DuPont herbicide will contaminate compost

New herbicide will contaminate compost
Composting News
By Ken McEntee
June 17, 2011
In reply to the U.S. Composting Council’s (USCC) request for a special review of the registration for the new herbicide Imprelis, the U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs said it is seeking the advice of legal council about the matter. Imprelis, made by DuPont, can survive the composting process and remain active in a finished compost product.
The product label specifies that clippings from lawns treated with Imprelis should not be used as a mulch or placed in a compost pile.
Imprelis has been registered in every state except California and New York for use by licensed applicators on lawns and other turf areas for control of broadleaf weeds like dandelion, clover and plantain. The Composting Council of Canada said it doesn’t appear that Imprelis is available for sale in Canada, having yet to be registered through Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
USCC last month issued an alert warning composters to watch out for grass clippings contaminated with the new herbicide. USCC said grass from treated lawns could end up in a compost pile, and unlike most herbicides, Imprelis will survive the composting process and still be active in the finished compost. Preliminary research has shown that Imprelis does not break down significantly faster than the leaves and grass in the compost, so the concentration stays about the same. An unsuspecting gardener using contaminated compost could end up damaging their flowers and vegetables, most of which are also broad-leafed.
The product label contains a warning about composting:
“Do not use grass clippings from treated areas for mulching or compost, or allow for collection to composting facilities. Grass clippings must either be left on the treated area, or, if allowed by local yard waste regulations, disposed of in the trash. Applicators must give verbal or written notice to property owner/property manager/residents to not use grass clippings from treated turf for mulch or compost.”
In March, DuPont issued suggested language for applicators to use regarding management of grass clippings from areas treated with Imprelis:
“Today we have treated your lawn with an innovative weed control product from DuPont. The product label requires that you do not use grass clippings from areas treated with Imprelis for mulching or compost, or allow for collection to composting facilities. Grass clippings must either be left on the treated area, or, if allowed by local yard waste regulations, disposed of in the trash.”
"One problem is that the warning is on page seven of a nine page label," said Dr. Stuart Buckner, executive director of the USCC. “Unfortunately not everyone reads or follows the label. We are requesting the U.S. EPA initiate a special review of the registration due to the likelihood of residual herbicide levels in compost damaging non-target plants."
He said he received a reply from the EPA acknowledging the request and saying that the Office of Pesticide Programs is seeking the advice of counsel. No timeframe was given.
USCC said it is unlikely that municipal or commercial compost will contain significant amounts of Imprelis, though it is possible in suburban areas where a large amount of clippings could come from commercially treated lawns. It could especially be an issue for places like schools, recreational fields or golf courses that use their grass clippings to make compost and then use the compost in landscape beds or gardens instead of placing back on turf.
"We are alerting our members to this issue, that they need to make sure their haulers are informed to not bring them grass clippings that have been treated with Imprelis," Buckner said. "We also suggest they work with their state's bureau of pesticide applicator licenses to ensure applicators know about this restriction.”
DuPont said Imprelis, an innovative product to control a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds, is the “most scientifically advanced turf herbicide in over 40 years.” Imprelis contains a single active ingredient – Aptexor - that is absorbed by the roots and shoots of target weeds providing consistent performance.
Aptexor, the first compound in an advanced generation of carboxylic acid herbicides, has unique properties at both the molecular and whole plant levels that translate into more powerful herbicidal activity. The most noticeable symptoms after application include the bending and twisting of stems and the cupping of leaves.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Market: Recovered paper could see big shortages over the summer

From The Paper Stock Report, June 10, 2011
Copyright 2011, McEntee Media Corporation

June 10, 2011
By Ken McEntee

Scrap paper traders are wondering whether summer will bring a spike in prices of old corrugated containers (OCC) and other grades. Since the beginning of June, export prices for OCC have moved upward about $10 a ton. But prior to that, even as OCC was been shipped out of the country in unprecedented levels during the first four months of the year, prices were relatively steady. In fact, pier prices in most markets actually were lower in May than in February and March.

In April, the latest month for which trade data is available from the U.S. Commerce Department, OCC exports to China reached 781,000 short tons – 10 percent higher than the record 710,000 tons in March. Yet FAS prices for China-bound OCC actually declined slightly between late March and late April. In New York, for example, prices dropped from about $202 per ton at the end of March, to about $199 per ton at the end of April, before sliding back up to about $202 in late May.

But traders note the seasonal downturn in OCC generation, and suggest that strong demand by domestic mills, along with Chinese mills kicking into high production season for end of the year holiday boxes could leave mills struggling to find tonnage.

On the other hand, other sources says, record volumes moving to China earlier in the year may have built inventories enough to avoid a surge in summer buying from mills in that country. Also, according to a West Coast broker, flooding and other severe weather conditions may reduce the supply of agricultural products this summer, meaning containerboard mills will be needing less OCC.

However, he says, “Mills are all saying that they have strong orders and they are nervous about the ability to gather up enough OCC through the summer.”

Export prices for OCC reached $230 per ton (FAS) at the Port of Long Beach during the second week of June, while going at $210 in Seattle. OCC exports out of New York were hitting the $210 per ton mark.

“OCC prices were flat for a long time,” said a broker in the Northeast. “Prices are starting to move.”

Still, he said he doesn’t expect to see a huge surge.

“I don’t know that we’ll see a huge spike, but if generation is down and demand stays strong, prices will only get stronger,” he said.

He, along with several other traders, noted that the three-day Independence Day weekend has some buyers nervous.

Traders reported that old newspaper prices (ONP) continue to hold steady despite a significant downtime and other reductions in ONP usage.

“Catalyst Paper’s Snowflake, Ariz. mill is down to half its normal consumption of ONP,” one supplier said. “At one point they has 215 boxcars from the Midwest lined up. They were delayed by the flooding and now they have a lot of fiber sitting down there.”

In Dublin, Ga., SP Newsprint was reportedly using about 500 tons less ONP per day than normal.

AbitibiBowater took market-related downtime at several of its mills in the Southeast U.S. and in Ontario. That was on top of mill closings by Blue Heron Paper, Oregon City, Ore., in February, and the, Katahdin Paper mill in East Millinocket, Maine, in April.

All of these capacity reductions are coming despite a weaker-than-normal U.S. dollar that is making U.S. newsprint attractive on the global market.

“Newsprint is a grade that is really hurting,” understated a supplier on the West Coast.

Chemical deinking grades, meanwhile, are in extreme short supply, causing some traders to wonder how mills will keep themselves furnished through the summer.

“Sorted office paper is under assault,” said a broker in the Northeast. “The pipeline is dry and there is nothing on the horizon to derail that trend. While the demand for away-from-home napkins is showing some signs of life, those mills are going to need fiber to produce their product. The price could go to the moon, but that isn’t going to create more paper.”

Sorted Office Paper (SOP) this month pushed up about $10 a ton.

Along with declining supply has come deteriorating quality.

A couple mill buyers reported that their old nemesis – self-adhesive labels – are beginning to be a problem.

“We’ve had a deinking specialist in this week to see what we can do about it,” said the buyer for a Northeastern tissue mill.