home iis corporate overview faqs media releases fact sheets contact us links

What is an Integrated Impact Statement?
An Integrated Impact Statement (IIS) is a study of the environmental, social, economic, and community impacts of the proposed pulp mill. It enables the Resource Planning and Development Commission to carry out an independent integrated assessment of all likely impacts of the project. An IIS describes to the Commission and to the community what Gunns Limited wants to do, what the environmental and other impacts will be and how Gunns plans to manage the pulp mill proposal. It also demonstrates how negative social, economic and community impacts can be avoided, remedied or mitigated and how the positive impacts can be enhanced.

How much time and money has been spent by Gunns on the IIS?
Gunns Limited has invested more than $11 million to develop in excess of 40 reports in conjunction with 43 consultants to prepare an Integrated Impact Statement for a pulp mill in Tasmania. The past 18 months represents more than 350,000 hours of research, analysis, modeling, studying, planning and reporting.

What happens after the IIS is submitted?
The Resource Planning and Development Commission will assess Gunns’ IIS as part of the project’s approvals process. If approved, construction could start in the first half of 2007 and would take about 26 months to complete. The mill could then start operations in early 2009.

Why does Gunns want to build a pulp mill in Tasmania?
Gunns believes the development and operation of a pulp mill is needed to provide a commercially sustainable forest industry sector. The project will provide downstream, value-adding processing of forestry product in Tasmania, resulting in further employment opportunities. On the international market, plantation woodchips fetch about $90 per green tonne, compared to about $800 per air dried tonne of pulp (up to four green tonnes of woodchips are required to make one air dried tonne of pulp).

What does a new pulp mill mean for Tasmania?
Each Tasmanian household is, on average, expected to be able to spend an additional $870 per year into the future because of increased wealth in the community created by the pulp mill. For all Australian governments (State and national) almost $894 million in increased tax revenue will be generated between 2008 and 2030, some of which will be returned to Tasmania under the normal Commonwealth Grants Commission formula. There will be an additional $39 million annual expenditure by the construction workforce into the northern Tasmanian economy and a 15% increase on local
property prices.

How much will the project cost?
At a capital expenditure cost of $1.4 billion, Gunns’ pulp mill proposal is the largest-ever investment by the private sector in Tasmania and the largest-ever investment within the forestry sector in Australia.

How many jobs will be created?
About 3,400 more jobs will be expected in Tasmania in 2008 if the pulp mill is constructed. Once the mill is operational, employment in Tasmania will increase by 1617 more jobs on average than otherwise would be the case. By 2030 there will be about 2,000 extra jobs in Tasmania because of the pulp mill. Of the 292 operational jobs, 60% will require additional training.

Will Gunns employ local workers?
Gunns is committed to source employment and services from Tasmania whenever possible. It is estimated that 40% of jobs during construction and 80 per cent of jobs once the mill is operational will be filled by Tasmanians.

Will the proposed mill adopt world’s best technology?
Gunns proposes to construct an elemental chlorine-free (ECF) bleached hardwood and softwood Kraft pulp mill. Such pulp mills have evolved over recent years, with each one being technologically and environmentally better than the last. Similarly, Gunns’ mill will establish new benchmarks. These include a three-tier odour abatement system, improvements in water recycling and chemical recovery, and the use of energy-producing gases. Gunns intends to spend up to $20 million a year over 30 years so that evolving research and development activities worldwide can be incorporated into the project.

Why has the Bell Bay site been selected?
Site or option assessments were conducted for transport, water supply options, water supply pipeline, wharf facility, effluent pipeline, ocean outfall, possible workers’ accommodation facility, location and construction technology for a water supply pipeline crossing of the Tamar River and landfill. Bell Bay was selected because of a number of factors, including wood supply, the two existing woodchip mills, proximity to loading facilities at the ports, access to labour, environmental benefits and transport costs. The site is already zoned for heavy industry; it has an existing woodchip processing facility; and the required infrastructure, such as gas, power, road and rail, are accessible.

Why was Hampshire not selected?
Transport was a key reason. The Hampshire chip mill currently processes 1.2 million tonnes of wood per year. There would need to be a three-fold increase in wood volume to meet the needs of the pulp mill, resulting in a significant increase in log truck traffic including through Ridgley and Burnie. In addition, Hampshire is located about 35km inland from the Burnie port, preventing the development of an integrated port and pulp mill.

Will the proposed pulp mill impact on the Tamar Valley airshed?
Environmental health expert Dr Roger Drew concluded that mill emissions will have negligible influence on existing air quality in the vicinity. The project will meet the background guideline values determined by the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) for Air Quality and the Tasmanian air quality objectives in schedules 1 and 2 of the Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality) 2004. Air emissions from the operational pulp mill have been modelled to predict air quality impacts at peak running capacity at maximum pulp production. The modelling identifies that the contribution of emissions from the pulp mill to the local airshed is minor.

Will there be any health impacts as result of the proposed mill?
Dr Roger Drew analysed potential effects on pulp mill workers and nearby residents and concluded that mill emissions are very unlikely to cause direct health effects, either alone or as a mixture. The analysis also found that mill emissions will have negligible incremental impact on existing health issues.

How much water is required for the proposed pulp mill?
The proposed pulp mill will use 70% less water than older design mills due to extra water being recycled. When operating at its full capacity, the required raw water supply for the pulp mill will be 26 gigalitres per year. On average pulp mills consume 40,000 litres of fresh water per tonne of pulp produced. The Bell Bay Pulp Mill would use only 23,500 litres per tonne because of its recycling focus. This is a 40% saving – or 13.5 gigalitres per year.

Will the Cataract Gorge and Lake Trevallyn be affected?
Minimum environmental flows through the Cataract Gorge in summer will be maintained at current levels. The water taken from Lake Trevallyn would have produced about 0.8 megawatts of electricity; its diversion to the pulp mill will enable the average production of at least 60 Mw of surplus electricity for sale into the Tasmanian Electricity Grid.

Will effluent from the proposed pulp mill impact on the Tamar River?
Environmentally, it is safe to discharge pulp mill effluent into a river or lake. However, the Tasmanian Government has stipulated that no effluent can be discharged into the Tamar River. Treated effluent will instead be piped 23km to Five Mile Bluff and discharged through a multi-port diffuser system at a depth of 26 metres, about 3km into Bass Strait in an area with minimal aquatic activity.

Will the effluent impact on the seal colony?
As a seal colony exists about 15km from the outfall site, a risk assessment of potential health risks to seals has been undertaken. The results of these studies showed that there is a very low risk of bioaccumulation and biomagnification from the discharge of pulp mill effluent on the marine environment, including benthic invertebrates, fish and mammals.

Will dioxins be produced?
The introduction of ECF and TCF bleaching processes between 1990 and 1993 has virtually eliminated the release of dioxins and furans. Dioxin formation in the discharged pulp mill effluent is calculated to be almost non-existent, undetectable and significantly below both the level of detectability and the emission guidelines limit.

Will the proposed pulp mill affect the Bass Strait marine environment?
The health risk assessment has identified that the pulp mill effluent will have a negligible impact on seafood and human health. The studies show there is little potential for the tainting of fish in the outfall area, fish will not accumulate metals into the muscle, there is a very low risk of bioaccumulation, the content of persistent organochlorins will be below detection limits and there will be no visible colour where the effluent is discharged.

Will the proposed pulp mill emit any odour?
The mill will have the world’s first three-tier odour abatement system to capture odorous gases. Treated emissions to air originate from the recovery boiler, the power boiler and the limekiln – all of which are part of the recycling technology to be adopted in the mill. The proposed pulp mill goes one step further than the guidelines by having two incinerators as additional back up systems.

Will the proposed pulp mill be noisy?
The noisiest element of any pulp mill is a wood chip mill. Two chip mills have been operating at this site since the early 1970s. As part of the pulp mill project, Gunns will implement a noise management strategy and introduce noise attenuation measures, ensuring the operation of the pulp and woodchip mills have only a minor impact on the noise environment.

How much wood will be processed in the proposed pulp mill?
The pulp mill will not require additional intensification of forestry operations. It will instead divert resource that otherwise would have been exported in chip form to the pulp mill for value-added processing. In the initial stages of operation, about 3.2 million green tonnes of pulp wood per year will be processed.

What sort of wood will be processed in the proposed pulp mill?
The primary wood source for this project will be plantation-grown eucalypts, regrowth forest eucalypts and a small proportion of plantation pine. No old growth logs will be used in the pulp mill.

How much pulp will be produced?
The proposed pulp mill will, in the initial stages, produce about 820,000 air dried tonnes of pulp and will have the capacity to produce up to 1.1 million air dried tonnes of pulp for domestic and international markets.

How can we obtain further information?
Gunns Limited is more than happy to provide further information about our Integrated Impact Statement. Please feel free to access our website www.gunnspulpmill.com.au, send us an email pulpmill@gunns.com.au or telephone us on 1800 265 297. Gunns Limited representatives are also available to speak to your community groups
and clubs.