Estonian investors plan
A group of Estonian investors with a long-term forestry and wood industry experience is considering building a modern and environmentally sound biorefinery in Estonia. With its 1 billion euro investment, it would be the largest ever industry investment in Estonia. After completion, it would be the most modern biorefinery in Europe.
The biorefinery would export its products in the volume of EUR 320–420 million per year. While replacing the current export of unrefined timber, it would increase Estonian exports by EUR 250-350 million annually. The export value of Estonian products would increase by 2–3%.
The direct added value created by the biorefinery would be EUR 210–270 million, representing about 1–1.3% of Estonia’s GDP in 2015.
The biorefinery would create 200 new skilled work posts outside the capital region. It would further induce the creation of a large number of jobs within the whole forestry value chain (transport, logistics etc.) and in the economy as a whole. The construction phase would create 3 200–3 800 man-years’ worth of jobs. The operational phase would grant work for 1 400–1 700 people in addition to the mill’s own staff. Subtracting replacement effects, the net impact of the operation of the plant on employment within the forestry value chain and elsewhere in the economy would be 900 additional jobs.
The investors financing the project initiated the environmental impact assessment and planning process at the beginning of 2017. The process may take up to three years. In the case of a positive investment decision, the biorefinery will launch in 2022. The construction process of the plant would take up to two years.
The biorefinery would annually use approximately 3 million m3 of pulpwood and wood chips. Today, the majority of harvested pulp wood and produced saw mill chips is being exported from all three Baltic states without adding value.The biorefinery would use pine, spruce and birch as raw material.
The prerequisites for the establishment of the biorefinery include a suitable plot of land of ca. 100 ha; availability of raw material, including birch, pine and spruce wood, within a reasonable distance; already existing logistical network, including access roads and railroads for the supply of raw materials and export of products; availability of surface water resources permitting sustainable management; local skilled labour force.
According to the initial pre-analysis, the most suitable location for the biorefinery would be in Tartu or Viljandi County in Southern Estonia nearby the River Suur-Emajõgi.