Investments in the forest industry
South Karelia boasts the densest forest industry hub in Europe, and large companies are busy making investments in it.
The UPM plant in Lappeenranta is investing EUR 50 million in the drying and baling of pulp (2016). The biodiesel plant completed in 2014 has a capacity of 100,000 tones, and it cost EUR 150 million. The biodiesel innovation used at the world’s first plant producing wood-based biodiesel reduces greenhouse emissions from motoring by up to 80% in comparison to fossil fuels. The biorefinery in Lappeenranta is the first significant investment in a new, innovative production plant made during the transitional period that the forest industry is going through.
Metsä Fibre has invested EUR 20 million in a gasification plant built in conjunction with its Joutseno pulp mill. The plant produces gas from waste from the pulp mill, i.e., wood bark. During normal operations, the plant does not generate any carbon dioxide, making it a pioneer in the utilisation of renewable energy.
Kemira is also about to make a large investment in Lappeenranta. The company is planning to build a new sodium chlorate production line at its plant in Joutseno. The investment will be about EUR 50–60 million.