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Estonian govt seeking special plan consultants for construction of EUR 1 bn pulp mill

The Estonian Ministry of Finance has announced a public tender to find consultants to advise the drawing up of a special plan for the one billion euro pulp mill of Est-For Invest OU, with the tasks of the consultants including assessing the impact of implementing the plan and carrying out research into known impacts.

"We have drawn up draft legislation to carry out the consultant tender in order to find competent enough consultants to draw up the plan," Tiit Oidjarv, head of the planning department at the Finance Ministry, said in a press release.

"Based on these draft legislations or the intention to work out the plan's fundamental viewpoints and impact assessment, the parties can discuss essential questions, which should be focused on during the preparation of the planning decision. The consultant's first task is to amend these within their power. After that we can involve the necessary parties in drawing up the plan as is stipulated by the Planning Act," Oidjarv said.

The government's special plan seeks to find the best location for the pulp mill in either Viljandi or Tartu County near the Emajogi river. The suitable location for the construction of the plant has good access to infrastructure, the road network, other technical networks and is suitable for the construction in terms of settlement and the natural environment.

Parallel to finding a suitable location, assessment must be carried out into the impact of the planned mill, which is not dependent on the location of the mill: for example, its impact on the river basin or the Estonian and Latvian forestry market.

Specialists from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Environment as well as representatives of Est-For Invest were involved in preparing the tender.

Est-For Invest is planning to set up a one billion euro pulp mill near Tartu in southern Estonia, which would process approximately 2.5-3.3 million tons of pulpwood a year and export its output.

According to the initial forecast, the mill would start production in 2022. The planned average production capacity is up to 750,000 tons of bio products a year. The final product will be exported.

The public tender for finding a consultant for the government's special plan was announced on August 17 and the tender's deadline is September 27.