Oji Fibre Solutions says it is pleased to be taking over some assets left over by Norske Skog after they closed the Kawerau paper mill in 2021.
Jon Ryder, Chief Executive, said, “This is good news because it allows us to retain essential equipment and services for our Tasman pulp mill, near Kawerau.”
The deal for OjiFS to purchase certain Norske Skog land, buildings and other assets in Kawerau was approved by the Overseas Investment Office on 20 September, enabling OjiFS to take over the land and assets on 10 October 2023.
The two mills were once part of an integrated facility, so while much of the important electricity equipment, piping, water intake and treatment facilities and other infrastructure is owned by Norske Skog, the use of these assets is also critical to OjiFS.These assets cannot be easily separated or replaced, so the best course for OjiFS was to purchase the relevant land and infrastructure.
“We have focussed on purchasing what we need to operate the pulp mill and secure our future on the site,” said Ryder.
In addition to purchasing relevant land and assets, OjiFS will lease the existing wastewater treatment ponds from Norske Skog and takeover their operation to continue to treat wastewater from the pulp mill and other facilities at Kawerau. This means it will also take full responsibility for the consent to discharge water into the Tarawera River.
OjiFS has not purchased land containing industrial landfills to the north of the mill. This land will remain in Norske Skog ownership unless it is sold to another entity. Ryder indicated that OjiFS has never used these landfills and responsibility for their closure is with Norske Skog and Carter Holt Harvey, a previous user. “We will, however, continue to keep a close eye on landfill closures because our name remains on the relevant landfill consent for now” he said.
Under the approved deal, OjiFS will surrender its share of the landfill consent when Norske Skog completes the closures.
“We have been working on this purchase for three years. Many people have worked hard and shown a lot of patience, including our friends at Norske, so I am very pleased to be at this point,” concluded Ryder.