SUNBIZ

Optimistic 2022 For Tropik Wood As New Mill Goes Up

In the meantime, Tropik Wood Industries is carrying out annual maintenance work during the shutdown period.
14 Jan 2022 11:35
Optimistic 2022 For Tropik Wood As New Mill Goes Up
Optimism in the air... Tropik Wood Industries at Vakabuli, Lautoka, is building a new mill.

A  new sawmill is expected to be commissioned next year, as civil works commence at the construction site. It will process native species of wood such as raintree and mahogany.

Tropik Wood Industries’ comment is among a host of positive indicators of yet another good year at the Vakabuli plant in Lautoka.

Hampered by the spate of wet weather and the global slowdown in steel production, the new mill is expected to open by the first quarter of 2023.

“After the civil works, the building will follow,” chief executive officer, Vimlesh Kumar, said.

“The machinery is expected to arrive towards the end of this year.” A budget of $15 million has been allocated for the new saw mill, which when established will employ at least 30 people.

It is among diversification moves by the company.

 

Annual maintenance, record target

In the meantime, Tropik Wood Industries is carrying out annual maintenance work during the shutdown period.

Resumption of work at Tropik Wood is scheduled for the last week of January, Mr Kumar said.

“Our operation is very much weather-dependent, as it becomes almost impossible to extract logs during wet weather,” he said.

“However, this weather is very good for our pine planting operations.

“We planted a record 4250 hectares last year, and are geared towards 7300 hectares this year.”

Fiji Pine has engaged landowners for the planting operations, he said.

“This year’s record target means that we will engage a record number of landowners,” Mr Kumar said.

Other projects are also in progress, to conclude this year.

“This includes chipper upgrade, two new timber steam drying kilns and 3.3 MW turbine restorations,” he said.

 

A new chipper

Mid last year, the company advertised a tender locally and in New Zealand, for components that formed part of the new chipmill at Drasa.

The move is owed to the obsolete condition of the current chipping plant.

“It does wood-chipping at a rate of 600 to 700 tons a day (24 hours),” Mr Kumar said.

“The new chipper is a different setup and has the capacity to do 2200 tons per day (24 hours).

“The rate of the chipping will be aligned to our forest sustainability since we cannot over-harvest our forests.”

The company established markets in Japan and China, with volumes for 2022 secured, Mr Kumar said.

 

Background

Tropik Wood Industries Limited owns and operates Fiji’s largest sawmill, where it operates a wood chip mill for exports.

The company is one of the three independent power producers that export electricity to Energy Fiji Limited’s national grid.

A 100 per cent owned subsidiary company of Fiji Pine Limited, Tropik Wood was founded in 1987 under the name of Forestry Development Services Limited.

It was later renamed to Tropik Wood Industries Limited.

Feedbackfrederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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