Arauco Will Build New Plant
Arauco announced it will reconstruct the plywood mill that was destroyed by fire at its complex in Nueva Aldea, Chile.
“We know that the community, our workers and neighbors, expect us to rebuild these facilities, thus contributing to the development of the Region and the commune, by recovering job positions that were lost in this regrettable event,” says Iván Chamorro, Arauco’s public affairs manager.
Arauco estimates that construction and startup will take at least two years. The destroyed mill had an annual production capacity of 450,000 m3. Arauco didn’t report the planned capacity of the new facility.
Numerous forest fires erupted in the Bío Bío Region on December 31 and spread vastly due to high temperatures and strong winds. The blaze affected at least 7,000 hectares of Arauco’s plantation forests before reaching the Nueva Aldea complex, which included the plywood mill, a pulp mill, sawmill and biomass power plants.
Arauco shut down all of the plants and joined firefighting efforts that included more than 500 firemen within the industrial complex and its surroundings backed by seven airplanes and eight helicopters. Only the plywood mill was destroyed, and no casualties or employee serious injuries were reported by Arauco.
While announcing the planned rebuild, Arauco also indicated that 237 of the 661 operators that were directly affected will be relocated into other tasks or the design work of the new panel mill project. Regarding workers that cannot be relocated, Arauco will not terminate their jobs using the force majeure clause that can be used in these situations.
A training program is being developed in collaboration with the Chilean Labor Ministry to provide workers with better tools to enter into new job opportunities.