Washington, November 15, 2006 - The
discussion at the IFC and MIGA boards of directors on IFC financing and
a MIGA guarantee of the Orion Pulp Mill project in Uruguay has been delayed.
The IFC and MIGA rules of procedure provide that any item on the agenda
for consideration by the board may be postponed for one meeting, not more
than once, at the request of any board member, effectively until the next
scheduled meeting of the Board. In this case, that would be Tuesday, November
IFC and MIGA are requesting their Boards’ approval for the project because
they believe the mill will cause no environmental harm and will generate
significant economic benefits for Uruguay.
The Orion mill, majority owned by Finnish company Oy-Metsa Botnia, will
be operated to the highest global standards and comply with IFC and MIGA's
respective environmental and social standards. A recently issued independent
report provided conclusive evidence that the local area, including the
Argentine city of Gualeguaychu, will not experience adverse environmental
The environmental improvements related to the mill include treating wastewater
from the nearby town of Fray Bentos; generating electricity from mill operations
that will offset 68,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide by replacing oil
burned in public generating plants and reducing acid rain; treating the
untreated effluent of an older, unrelated pulp mill in the nearby town
of Mercedes; and producing sufficient sodium chlorate to allow local mills
in Argentina and Uruguay to move to elemental chlorine-free pulp production.
The Orion mill represents the largest foreign investment in Uruguay's history
and will help the country move up the value chain beyond the export of
raw materials, while generating some 2,500 much needed local jobs. The
plant will generate value added equivalent to 2 percent of Uruguay's entire
GDP (based on 2005 figures) and slightly more than 8 percent of the country’s
exports for each year of full-capacity production. It is expected
to operate for about 30 years.
For More Information Visit: www.ifc.org/lac