Taiwan Pulp & Paper halts production due to earthquake
SINGAPORE, March 5, 2010 (RISI) - A 6.4-magnitude earthquake that jolted southern Taiwan on March 4 has caused minor damage to a pulp and paper mill there, prompting the plant to halt production. No casualties have been reported.
The tremor destroyed the top of the chimney at Taiwan Pulp & Paper's facility in Hsinying city, Tainan county. The rubble crashed to the ground and damaged the piping system at the plant. Production at the mill has been halted while the damaged pipes are inspected and repaired. The firm expects to restart the plant on March 8.
No other pulp and paper mills have been affected by the earthquake, according to the Taiwan Paper Industry Association.
Taiwan Pulp & Paper estimated the loss of the assets due to the quake at T$2 million ($62,600). But the incident comes at a sensitive time in the paper industry in Taiwan and other Asian countries, in the aftermath of the strong earthquake in Chile.
Two Chilean producers, Arauco and Empress CMPC, are major suppliers of bleached radiata pine kraft pulp, bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp and unbleached softwood kraft pulp in Asia. But all their pulp mills in Chile, which have a total capacity of 4.445 million tonnes/yr, are down, and pulp deliveries from the country to Asia have been disrupted. Asian buyers are worried that a shortage in pulp supply is inevitable. Companies with low inventories, many in South Korea and Taiwan, may be forced to reduce paper and board production, or even take downtime, as early as in April if they are unable to replenish their depleting stock soon