A Gunns' woodchip mill at Longreach in Tasmania
Is the final nail in the coffin for the proposed Gunn’s Tasmanian pulp-mill an economic one?
Tasmanian mills are closing down left, right and centre.
“Gunns shuts chip mills”, The MercuryFeb 20, 2009, Nick Clark reports,
“The Long Reach mill will shutdown next week and every Friday until the end of April. The Triabunna mill is closed from midnight tonight until March 9. After that it is closed for a series of Fridays as well as the week of April 10-17. The Hampshire mill at Burnie has had an additional week shutdown added next week and a four day week until the end of April. Tasmania Forest Contractors Association chairman Rodney Bishop said some contractors were carrying as little as 40 per cent of their normal quota.”
Japan doesn't want woodchips now due to the downturn and dropping paper and packaging sales. But, the Japanese company, Nippon, has just bought the Latrobe Valley's Paperlinx factory. It seems like a very risky purchase - even if they got it dirt cheap.
A Buyer’s market or a Fire-sale?
Or is this the same buyer’s market that sees the Chinese making offers for Australian mines, caught in the downturn after overly leveraging on projected growth?
Australians should keep our opportunistic government and Foreign Investment Review Board vigilant not to give in to a fire-sale here. Closing down these unviable industries is what should happen. It should have happened in the 1860s. Let’s encourage these refractory industries to invest in the health of forests by leaving them alone.
Ominous move on Victoria’s protected water catchments
Paperlinx at Maryvale lost a huge chunk of it's 'resource' (trees) in the Victorian bush-fires. At the same time there has been a renewed push by the logging lobbyists to get into Melbourne's catchments, which have been closed to them up until now.
The move to get into our last few protected water catchments is ominous and should not be granted by government.
Victorians should be vigilant about any claims by the logging industry that they are performing a social service of salvage logging and making these areas more accessible for fire trucks.
No fire-sales please
We already know that the worst hit areas in the fires were the logged and wood-chipped ones. On that basis, to let the loggers in to relatively intact forest would be tantamount to increasing Victoria’s fire danger.
Keep an eye on this one and scream loud and long if you get the chance.