Portucel-Soporcel negotiating to buy 200,000 hectares in Mozambique for paper manufacturing project

12 November 2009

Lisbon, Portugal, 12 Nov – Portuguese paper group Portucel-Soporcel is finalizing a deal with the Mozambican government to acquire 200,000 hectares of land to plant eucalyptus trees and build a paper pulp factory, the Publico newspaper reported.

Mozambican Prime Minister Luisa Diogo told Publico that two-thirds of the land required by the Portuguese company has already been found in the provinces of Manica and Zambezia in northern Mozambique.

Diogo, speaking on the sidelines of the Beijing-promoted Global China Business conference in Lisbon, said the location of the paper factory is still under discussion.

“It has to be close to a port,” said the Mozambican leader, noting if Manica is chosen, close to the Zimbabwe frontier, the most logical option is Beira. If Zambezia is selected, the Nacala railway will have to become viable.

A paper factory is planned for a later stage of the project as part of Portucel-Soporcel strategy of international expansion. The company said in 2008 it had established an agreement in principle with the Maputo authorities to build a paper pulp plant with an annual production capacity not less than 1 million tons.

Mozambique’s prime minister visited Portucel-Soporcel’s new production unit on Monday at Setubal, near Lisbon, set up with investment of €550 million and a 500,000 tons annual production capacity. (macauhub)