Metsä Group is planning to construct a new Kerto® LVL mill on its expanding mill area in Äänekoski, Finland. The final decision on the investment, the value of which is approximately EUR 200 million, is pending the completion of a local detailed plan for the area. The new Kerto LVL mill is expected to use around 375,000 cubic metres of log procured from Finland.
According to plans, the production of the new mill will be mainly sold to customers in Europe and Asia. The market outlook is excellent for lightweight, environmentally friendly Kerto LVL products that speed up construction, especially in industrial prefabrication, modular construction and traditional project construction. The development of a hybrid element structure combining concrete and Kerto LVL products has also made good progress and will further boost demand.
The annual Kerto LVL production capacity of the new mill, to be constructed in phases between 2022 and 2026, will be approximately 150,000 cubic metres. This means an increase of some 50 per cent in Metsä Group’s current Kerto LVL production. The mill will be a global forerunner in its field in terms of its technology and efficiency.
The new mill would have a direct employment impact of around 140 new jobs, in addition to which it would add some 200 person-years to its direct value chain. The employment impact during the construction phase is estimated at 1,000 person-years.
“We create profitable growth by processing Finnish wood, and our operations are guided by the principles of sustainability. In the next few years, we will be increasing our production of products that store carbon over a longer period of time, and the new Kerto LVL mill is the next step in this process. As wood is the most environmentally friendly construction material, we believe that the demand for resource-efficient and high-quality Kerto LVL will continue to be strong. Finland needs more investments and a strong belief in the future,” said Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä Group.
Metsä Group has together with the city of Äänekoski initiated a local planning process with the target to expand the production of mechanical wood products at the Äänekoski integrated mill. A local detailed plan is under preparation for the approximately 150-hectare area that is located to the south of Metsä Group’s current mill site and is slated for industrial operations. There is a valid local master plan for the area, most of which is owned by Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group. The planning process is expected to run until early 2022.
The area for which the plan is being prepared will enable a significant expansion of mechanical forest industry production activities – also after the completion of the new Kerto LVL mill.