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OVERVIEW investors bought the company out of business rescue in August 2016. The plant comprises a coating plant, softboard line, wood yard, chipping operation, refining department and four hardboard production presses. The mill had an annual capacity of 30-million m² of hardboard and softboard but at the time of writing a labour dispute had brought production to a halt. The new investors and the workers could not agree on what steps were needed to make the mill profitable again. Mpact’s upgrade of its Felixton mill will be completed in 2017 which will increase capacity and improve efficiency. The R765-million upgrade will take overall production up to 215 000 tons (from 60 000) and include for the first time a lightweight containerboard option. This is in response to market demand for lighter packaging. The first phase of the upgrade began in 2015 with the development of a recycled fibre (RCF) plant and improvements to the paper machine. Mpact has plastics and paper operations, with the paper section divided into three divisions: paper manufacturing, corrugated and converted paper products, and recycling. The Merensky Group operates one softwood sawmill and a panel-processing plant in Kokstad that is geared to manufacture according to customers’ needs in any sector. Export is done through the Port of Durban. NCT Forestry Co-op Limited is a key timber-marketing entity with more than 2 000 members

and three wood-chipping mills. R&B Timber Group has three pole treatment plants and is headquartered in Harding. Flaxton Timbers operates out of Ixopo and Natal Forest Products is in Richmond. Dissolving wood pulp is sold as a raw material to converters around the world who produce from it a range of products such as textiles, cellophane wrap and pharmaceuticals. The Sappi mill at KwaDukuza produces 110 000 tons of paper and 60 000 tons of pulp annually, and is the only producer of coated graphic paper in the country. Its Tugela Mill, at Mandeni, is the only one in the country to manufacture high-performance containerboard packaging. The giant Sappi Saiccor mill 50km south of Durban is the world’s biggest manufacturer of dissolving wood pulp. The mill’s capacity is 800 000 tons.

Timber Timber plantations are found in five parts of the province: northern KwaZulu-Natal, Midlands, southern KwaZulu-Natal, Zululand and Maputaland. Close to half a million hectares – 38.5% of the land in South Africa devoted to forestry – is allocated to timber plantations. Of this area, 70% is devoted to hardwoods and the balance to pine, the only softwood grown in large quantities in South Africa. The percentage of privately owned forest land is 93.4%. Merensky has plantations in the Dargle forest while Sappi and Mondi have holdings across the province. Mondi has 220 000 plantation hectares on 330 000ha of land, while Sappi manages and owns about 230 000ha. The South African forestry industry is valued at R40-billion per year. The National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reports that South Africa has a shortage of sawn timber and that this problem is set to get worse.

CONTACT INFO Forestry South Africa: www.forestry.co.za KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development: www.kzndard.gov.za National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: www.daff.gov.za Paper Manufacturers of South Africa: www.thepaperstory.co.za South African Institute of Forestry: www.saif.org.za Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry of South Africa: www.tappsa.co.za

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KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2017/18

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2017/18  

KwaZulu-Natal Business 2016/17 is the eighth edition of this highly successful publication that has since its launch in 2007 established its...

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