Govt eyes Papua as pulp and paper production base

Govt eyes Papua as pulp and paper production base
, 21 July 2010

The Industry Ministry said Tuesday that the government planned to expand the pulp and paper industry to eastern Indonesia, including Papua, because of its vast tracts of forest.

“Currently, only western Indonesia has pulp and paper factories,” Industry Minister MS Hidayat said after opening the April Technology Center (ATC) in Pelalawan, Riau.

“In future, we plan to expand the development of the pulp and paper industry to eastern Indonesia,” he said, adding that the expansion would to help Indonesia increase pulp and paper exports.

“Currently, PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper [RAPP] exports 2.24 million tons of pulp worth US$867,364 and 4.09 million tons of paper valued at $3.06 million per year,” he said.

At the event, Hidayat urged pulp and paper producers not to damage forests to avoid criticism by foreign NGOs.

“The government will help all pulp and paper producers as long as they do not damage forests as foreign NGOs have claimed,” he said. “We will help pulp and paper companies as long as their production processes run properly.”

Hidayat also asked stakeholders not to be influenced by critical factual reports by NGOs that could affect the investment climate and weaken the competitiveness of the local industry.

He said Indonesia, as one of the world’s biggest pulp and paper producers, should defend its positions against negative campaigns by foreign NGOs.

Indonesia is the ninth-largest pulp producer and the eleventh-largest paper producer in the world.

Indonesia has 14 pulp manufacturers with a total annual capacity to produce 7.9 million tons and 81 paper manufacturers with a total production capacity of 12.17 million tons.

Pulp production reached 6.52 million tons and paper production 9.31 million tons in 2009.

Hidayat said the pulp and paper industry faced a few challenges this year, such as a lack of adequate industrial plantation forests and technology.