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Action Plan to complete environmental studies on Pulp Mill Projects Addresses Recommendations from Independent Experts


In Washington D.C.:

Adriana Gómez

Phone:  + 1 (202) 458-5204

Email:  
Agomez@ifc.org

Karina Manasseh

E-mail:
Kmanasseh@ifc.org


Washington D.C., May 9, 2006 – Today the International Finance Corporation (IFC) made public an Action Plan indicating the remaining steps to complete the IFC’s environmental and social due diligence process for two pulp mill projects in Uruguay.  

The plan addresses recommendations included in a report produced by two independent experts, Wayne Dwernychuk and Neil McCubbin of Canada.  Following their review of all stakeholder comments on the draft Cumulative Impact Study (CIS), McCubbin and Dwernychuk identified a need for additional information and analysis to substantiate the environmental impacts of the CMB and Orion pulp mill projects. They also recommended some technical improvements for consideration that could enhance the environmental performance of both mills.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group that promotes sustainable development of the private sector in emerging markets, is evaluating whether to provide financing to the proposed Orion and CMB pulp mill plants. In addition, MIGA, also an arm of the World Bank Group, is evaluating whether to provide political risk insurance to investors in the Orion plant.  

With the Action Plan, the IFC commences the final phase of its environmental due diligence process for the pulp mill projects to confirm compliance with its strict and internationally recognized environmental standards.  Upon completion of the environmental review, IFC and MIGA will decide whether they will seek Board approval for the financing and the guarantee for the projects.

The Action Plan


IFC has reached an agreement with the project sponsors, ENCE and Botnia, to implement the Action Plan, which includes the following components:

·        The draft CIS will be revised and updated by independent consultants and will include additional information required by IFC, following the recommendations of the experts’ report.



·        Revision of the CIS is expected to take between 60 and 90 days, and will begin following the appointment of the independent consultants.



·        Once the consultants update the CIS, it will be reviewed by the panel of independent Canadian experts to verify consistency and responsiveness to the findings and recommendations in their report released April 11, 2006.  



·        The final CIS will be an essential factor in the World Bank Group’s decision making process of determining whether to submit the projects to the Board of Directors for approval.  Should IFC and MIGA decide to proceed, the final CIS will be publicly disclosed for a period of 30 days prior to consideration by IFC’s and MIGA’s Boards of Directors.



·        The independent consultants retained for additional information gathering, study, and analysis will address the following key issues identified by the Canadian experts:



1.- Plant Process Technology:
Evaluate possible technological and process improvements, and verify that plant operations will utilize Best Available Techniques and will, at minimum, meet IPPC/BREF environmental performance standards;

2.-  Plan Site Selection
: Provide additional information that substantiates the companies’ decision to locate the plants near Fray Bentos;

3.- Rio Uruguay Water Quality and Aquatic Resources
: Provide a more detailed review of data on baseline water quality and fisheries to assess the impact of effluent discharge;

4.- Air Quality
: Revise emissions models;

5.- Tourism
: Provide additional baseline information and analysis of the tourism industry within the area of influence of the two proposed pulp mills;

6.- Forest Plantations
: Undertake additional review of mill-related plantation forestry operations and their impacts; and

7.- Emergency Response and Environmental Management/Monitoring Plans
: Provide additional detail on each company’s management plans.



The complete action plan is available online at:
http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/lac.nsf/content/Uruguay_Pulp_Mills



IFC’s Evaluation Process Timeline


o        April-July 2005 -        Public release of IFC mandated Environmental and Social                         Impact         Studies(EIAs) for each proposed plant



o        August 2005 -IFC meetings with stakeholders and government officials in                                 Gualeguaychú, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo



o        June-December 2005 -         Preparation of draft CIS



o        November-December 2005 - Independent stakeholder survey of attitudes to pulp mills in                 Uruguay and Argentina



o        December 19, 2005 - IFC releases draft CIS and begins a 60-day                                         consultation period



o        January-February 2006 - IFC stakeholder consultations on CIS in Uruguay                         and Argentina



o        End of February 2006 - End of consultation period.

      Stakeholder input, draft CIS and EIAs delivered to Expert

      Panel integrated by Canadian experts Wayne Dwernychuck and Neil McCubbin


o        April 11, 2006 - Expert Panel’s report is made public by IFC.



o        May 9,  2006 - IFC makes public action plan to incorporate experts’                                 recommendations into final CIS.




For more details in English and Spanish, including the Action Plan, the independent expert’s report, and the consultation process please visit:


http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/lac.nsf/content/Uruguay_Pulp_Mills

For Frequently Asked Questions on the projects and the evaluation process, please visit:


http://164.114.129.64/ifcext/lac.nsf/Content/9EC860159FEF694485257115005B6E79?OpenDocument