Sappi announces massive expansion at Sappi Saiccor mill

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-09-16 16:28:00 – South Africa

His Excellency Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, cut the ribbon this week on a massive expansion and environmental improvement project at the Sappi Saiccor mill in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal. The R7.7 billion initiative was designed to boost Sappi's competitiveness internationally, generate shareholder profit, and have a good social effect.

The expansion and renovation, which were announced at the President's first annual national investment conference in 2018, solidify Sappi's commitment to South Africa and enhance its standing as a major participant in the expanding dissolving pulp (DP) industry.

The expansion project, which currently accounts for 17% of the DP market, satisfies customer demand for increased DP production, particularly Lyocell, the future's fiber, against a backdrop of sustained demand as people around the world look to more sustainable alternatives across the textile and fashion value chain. Already, Sappi is in charge of producing over 60% of the world's lyocell.

Sappi's dedication to sustainability extends beyond the value chains of its clients; rather, it has always been a key component of the company's culture and strategy. When Sappi bought the Saiccor plant in 1989, it expanded the company's international dissolving pulp (DP) market reach. To keep up with the increase in demand worldwide, the mill has undergone three expansion projects since that time.

Nearly all of the DP produced at the mill is branded as Verve and exported internationally into the Viscose Staple Fibres (VSF) markets for usage in textiles and apparel for prestigious brands. As the textile industry moves to meet the 2030 Science Based Target established by the sector, demand for low climate impact materials is increasing. Verve is now a Fibre of Choice for more sustainable viscose and lyocell fibers thanks to the Saiccor upgrade project, which significantly supports the shift to the production of low-climate raw materials in the wood-based cellulosic industry.

Sappi CEO Steve Binnie, said that it is a privilege to have their President here to celebrate the completion of the Saiccor Mill's expansion and environmental upgrading. They take great delight in meeting about 60% of the world's demand for Lyocell, the majority of which comes from this mill in the nation of our origin. Demand for renewable textiles made from the sustainable wood fiber is on the rise worldwide. Sappi has developed as a company in step with trends throughout the world, and this growth demonstrates its dedication to using this genuinely circular product to enable not just its own sustainability objectives but also those of its customers.

A delegation of representatives, led by Mr. Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade & Industry and Competition, Ms. Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, and Mr. Siboniso Duma, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, participated in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony with President Ramaphosa. They were joined by Mr. Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa, Mr. Steve Binnie, CEO of Sappi Limited, and Sir Nigel Rudd, Chairman of the Global Board of Sappi Limited.

Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa, said that the installation of the largest sulphite recovery boiler in the world and the conversion of the calcium cooking line to the more sustainable magnesium bisulphite technology, reduces the need for coal-based power generation at the mill, leading to a significant reduction in fossil fuel energy requirements and increasing the mill's use of renewable energy, as well as realizing considerable variable cost savings.

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