French pulp manufacturer Fibre Excellence and waste management company Veolia are making some progress with the implementation of the Chapelle Darblay conversion project in France. Fibre Excellence announced that it had leased the site, which is to be rebuilt to the production of corrugated case material, from Veolia and that it had taken over operational management.
The lease runs until the end of 2024. During this time, the financing of the project is to be secured, a spokesperson of Fibre Excellence told EUWID. In order to obtain the necessary permits for the conversion, it was also necessary to have expertise in the field of paper production, which did not apply to Veolia as a waste management company, she said, explaining one of the reasons for leasing the plant.
After the lease expires, Fibre Excellence plans to acquire the Chapelle Darblay mill from Veolia. Veolia will remain a project partner and will contribute to raw material supply in the future. It was already agreed that the company will supply the site with recovered paper for an initial period of ten years. The Chapelle Darblay mill will produce up to 400,000 tpy of recycled corrugated case material once it has been converted. This would require some 450,000 tpy of recovered paper for production, of which Veolia would deliver at least 225,000 tpy, said Fibre Excellence.
Production at the rebuilt site is planned to start between the end of 2026 and the beginning of 2027, according to the company spokesperson.
Fibre Excellence sees the supply contract with Veolia as an important prerequisite for realising the project and drawing up a financial plan. "Supplies are a strategic issue for the conversion of the plant and securing them provides essential guarantees to obtain the necessary financing," said Jean-François Guillot, President of the pulp company.
The search for financing options is now to be tackled next. Fibre Excellence put the investment volume at €280m, including €30m in equity from Fibre Excellence and €30m in public support through various schemes.
In May 2022, Veolia took over the former Chapelle Darblay newsprint mill from the Métropole Rouen Normandie association of municipalities, which had previously acquired it from UPM. The plan was to convert Chapelle Darblay together with Fibre Excellence to the production of corrugated case material. Different scenarios were considered, including the establishment of a separate project company to operate the mill. The site’s biomass cogeneration plant is also planned to be modernised.