The Äänekoski bioproduct mill – a new chapter in the Finnish forest industry

The pipe of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill just reached its full height of 120 metres.  This year has been spent constructing the mill. In 2016, the focus will be on installation, and start up is scheduled for 2017.  Project Director Timo Merikallio highlights how revolutionary the plant is.  

“Although it has pulp production at its core, the new mill really is a next-generation bioproduct mill. At the same time, we are creating the capacity for wide-scale production of bioproducts. Of course, it is also important to note that the mill is going to be a massive producer of clean energy,” says Merikallio.

Metsä Fibre’s self-sufficiency in electricity now stands at around 150 per cent, whereas the electricity self-sufficiency of the new mill is going to be around 240 per cent.

Respect for tradition

Cutting-edge technology is not exactly new in Äänekoski, however.   The most modern sulphite pulp mill in Finland at the time started operations in Äänekoski in 1936, in 1961 a new generation of sulphate pulp mill opened, and then in 1985 a pulp mill that was revolutionary in terms of its environmental performance. 

Many Finns still remember the Päijänne-liike, a grass-roots movement challenging the forest industry in the 1980s. “When the mill started up in 1985 and quickly fulfilled its environmental promises, we gained a lot of trust,” says Merikallio.

It is yet again time to be worthy of that trust. “Our goal is to keep our stakeholders regularly informed of our plans. In order to ensure good cooperation, we like to exceed our stakeholders’ expectations.”

It is exciting to be turning a page in the history of the Finnish forest industry. “Working with a top-level expert organisation is challenging, but all the more rewarding.  We a have a good culture: when things that need resolving come up, we resolve them without delay. And they can’t wait, because the train just keeps on rolling forward fast.”

The Äänekoski bioproduct mill is the largest investment ever made in the forest industry in Finland.

During the construction phase, its employment effect will total over 6,000 man-years, and as production gets under way, there will be over 2,500 jobs, of which 1,000 will be totally new in the Finnish value chain.  The most significant employment effects are expected to be in forestry and transport.
You can read more about the bioproduct mill here.

Proud to be working for the success of the new bioproduct mill! Camilla Wikström, Timo Merikallio and the mill's pipe.
Camilla Wikström started as the director of the bioproduct mill in September.