At the start of September, pulp production at Ence's Pontevedra mill is still standing idle. The water level and flow in the Lerez river, from which the Pontevedra mill uses the water for industrial production, has still not returned to normal.
Spain's pulp and renewable energy company Ence (Energía & Celulosa) has not resumed operations at the Pontevedra pulp mill after over a month of forced downtime. The regional authorities ordered Ence on 20 July to stop industrial operations at the site after certain ecological parameters in the flow of the Lerez River, from which Ence draws water for production, fell below minimum levels due to the ongoing dry weather in the region. At the start of September, water level and flow in the river has reportedly still not returned to normal.
The temporary production downtime at the pulp mill will remain effective until water flow in the river returns to normal levels and meets statutory requirements, Ence had announced in July. The company now expects that production could resume in the middle of September, market players informed EUWID. Ence itself has not confirmed the information.
The company is meanwhile reviewing several options including reuse of treated water from a nearby effluent treatment plant to at least partially resume pulp production as an interim solution, say Spanish media. This would not only be expedient under the current circumstances but would also ensure that the alternative water source could be used in similar emergencies in future.
The Pontevedra mill is geared for a production capacity of 620,000 tpy of hardwood pulp.