APP to Invest $4.3bn in China

BEIJING ~ Indonesia’s Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the world’s biggest paper makers, plans to invest US$4.3 billion in the second phase of a pulp-and-paper project in south China, state media said on Thursday.

Total investment in the project as a whole would be 50 billion yuan ($6.5 billion), with production capacity planned at 1.8 million tons of pulp and 3.1 million tons of paper, the China Business News reported.

The project, located in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang region, has already received 7.9 billion yuan for the first phase, with construction on a pulp plant launched in October 2006, the report said.

The newspaper cited a local official as saying the project would not cause damage to the local forestry and was moving smoothly under government supervision.

However, analysts are still concerned about issues like water and soil loss and pollution that the pulp plant may cause to a gulf nearby, the report said.

Environmental and other concerns have brought troubles to the Indonesia-based papermaker’s investments elsewhere in China.

The company was put under investigation in April after being accused of illegally logging primary forest on the southern island province of Hainan in order to make way for a large area of eucalyptus pulp and paper forest.

In February, the government blocked the company’s planned buyout of Yunnan Yunjing Forestry and Paper in the southwestern province of Yunnan on concerns the assets were being sold too cheaply.

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