Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

13 November 2015

Will Hodgman, Premier

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources

Investment in bio-solvent plant heralds new opportunities for forestry

The Hodgman Liberal Government’s number one priority is jobs.

Today, we are pleased to announce we are backing a major Tasmanian employer in its investment in an innovative project aimed at exploring a new market.

Norske Skog has entered a joint venture with Melbourne-based chemical technology research and development company Circa Group Pty Ltd to build a commercial demonstration plant manufacturing bio-solvents.

The $6.6 million pilot project has the potential to lead to full-scale commercial production, delivering a new industry and creating as many as 60 new jobs.

The Liberal Government is supporting the project with a $1.5 million grant.

The plant will produce Cyrene, a non-toxic, cleaner alternative to fossil fuel-based solvents, and will use certified plantation wood, making this a great example of the potential for value-added processing in our forest industries.

While there is a long way to go, this investment by Norske Skog and Circa Group, backed by the Government, is an important step for the industry.

This demonstrates that there are opportunities to grow the value of our forest industries, to create more jobs in Tasmania.

The world wants new, more environmentally-sensitive products to replace those that use fossil fuels, and bio-technology is the way of the future.

Norske Skog and Circa Group will produce about 50 tonnes a year of the bio-solvent Cyrene for export to the European pharmaceutical and agrichemical markets.

The investment is a vote of confidence in the Tasmanian economy, and will add to a long and proud history of forest-based processing at the Boyer Mill site.

It also continues Norske Skog’s efforts to move with the market and to position the company to capture emerging opportunities.

The Government’s commitment will be drawn from unspent Commonwealth funding provided to the State under the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

This is a particularly appropriate use of these funds as they will help to grow – rather than shutdown – our forest industries; creating jobs rather than ending them.

We are pleased to support this project, and commend all involved in their work to seek a new and exciting future direction for our forest industries.

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