BRUSSELS, Aug 1, 2014 (RISI) - Though somewhat drier than previous years, this winter's dry season in South Africa poses no threat to operations at Sappi's Saiccor dissolving pulp (DP) mill located on the Umkomazi river in the country's KwaZulu-Natal province, according to the firm.
"This year is the same as all other years, although it is a bit drier. However, even under these conditions the river is still flowing more than strongly enough for Saicor to operate normally," Sappi spokesperson Andre Oberholzer told RISI.
His comments come in response to an article in BloombergBusinessweek, suggesting that the Saiccor mill was facing a critical water shortage and was "struggling" to maintain pulp production.
The spokesperson noted that the firm had contingency plans in place in the event that the situation worsens before the summer rains start, in approximately one month.
"We have a dam up river from which we can release water to increase the flow and we can access water from the municipality. Given all of this, we do not anticipate any impact on production," said Oberholzer.
The Saiccor mill can produce approximately 800,000 tonnes/yr of DP.