Burapha planning bio-refinery facility
Burapha Agroforestry Company Ltd, a Lao-Swedish joint venture operating in Laos, is planning to set up a modern bio-refinery facility in Vientiane province to supply goods for domestic sale and export.
The project is expected to cost in excess of US$1.2 billion, the company’s Deputy Managing Director Ms Souphayvanh Thiengchanhxay told the press this week.
But it won’t get off the ground without cooperation and support from the local and central governments, she said.
The company is now working with the relevant government sectors to gather suggestions and gain approval for the project after completing a study to assess the environmental impacts, social benefits and overall feasibility of the project, Ms Souphayvanh said.
The refinery would be located in Hinheup district. This area is considered suitable because of the land available for agro-forestry, conditions for good plantation growth, limited conflicting interest regarding land use, good conditions for a mill, good logistics and infrastructure.
But before setting up the facility, the company needs to prepare sufficient raw materials to supply it, Burapha noted.
The company needs at least 30,000 hectares of trees or 2.25 million cubic metres of wood a year but has currently planted only 3,000 hectares of eucalyptus, teak and acacia.
Burapha exports its products to Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Russia, America, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Thailand, while some are also sold in Laos.
Most of the company’s plantations are in Vientiane as well as in Vientiane and Xayaboury provinces.
The proposed large scale pulp mill would produce dissolving pulp for the textile industry, bio-chemicals and bio-energy.
If the project goes according to plan, it should generate job opportunities directly and indirectly for thousands of people.
First of all, Burapha needs the government’s approval to establish a plywood factory in the area. This project is expected to cost US$13 million, Ms Souphayvanh said.
Products would supply both domestic and export markets, with the main export destinations being China, Indonesia and Thailand.
Some aspects of the plywood project have already been agreed to by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, while others are still awaiting assistance from central and local government authorities.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone said that before setting up the factory the company should closely coordinate with every relevant sector in order to avoid adverse social and environmental impacts and follow all the steps laid down in the regulations.