In our transformation from a traditional paper and board producer to a renewable materials company, Stora Enso is ramping up recent investment projects as well as optimising processes and synchronising them with the needs of our customers and markets.
The packaging business is one of our strategic growth areas for renewable materials. The consumer board machine at Stora Enso's new Beihai Mill in China started production in May 2016. The total investment of the project amounts to EUR 800 million, and includes a Bleached Chemi-Thermomechanical Pulp (BCTMP) mill that will be operational in Q4 2016. When fully operational in 18‒24 months, the mill will have an annual capacity of 450 000 tonnes of liquid packaging board and other high-grade paperboard products. In addition, Stora Enso is investing EUR 31 million in a new polyethylene (PE) coating line at the Beihai Mill that is scheduled for completion in mid-2017.
The Varkaus Mill in Finland has been upgraded to produce virgin-fibre-based containerboard as part of a EUR 110 million investment. Production began in October 2015 and will reach an annual capacity of 390 000 tonnes in early 2017. In addition, to enhance our portfolio of wood products, a new EUR 43 million Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) production line has commenced operations in June 2016 at the Varkaus Mill, with an annual capacity of around 100 000m3.
Biomaterials is another strategic growth area. A major biomaterials investment two years ago, at the Montes del Plata pulp mill in Uruguay, is now running at capacity with an annual production of 1.3 million tonnes of bleached Eucalyptus kraft pulp. The new state-of-the-art mill and port were constructed at a total cost of EUR 1 895 million, which is Uruguay's largest private investment to date.
In June 2016, Stora Enso announced it will invest EUR 26.5 million in its Skutskär pulp mill in Sweden to increase capacity by 160 000 tonnes to 415 000 tonnes to meet the growing demand in the hygiene market. The investment coincides with a planned reduction of the mill's softwood capacity by 160 000 tonnes.
During 2016, Stora Enso has also announced smaller investments at Imatra mills, Ala Sawmill, Honkalahti Sawmill, Skutskär Mill and Skoghall Mill to enhance competitiveness and improve climate impact. These include a EUR 70 million new polyethylene (PE) extrusion coating plant and Automated Roll Warehouse (ARW) at Imatra, a EUR 16 million new boiler at Ala, and EUR 10 million to renew the boiler at Honkalahti. EUR 32 million is also being invested to further improve the environmental performance of the Skutskär and Skoghall mills.