Friday Offcuts 21 January 2011
To start the New Year, you’ll notice this week a new function that’s been set up to highlight some of the very latest forestry and wood products technologies that have come onto the market. We’ve labelled it Product Showcase. The concept came out of your feedback from a number of the technology programmes that we ran last year. It’s designed to highlight new and innovative products that will be of interest to the industry "down under" – with links that will provide further details to the product and service suppliers who are either producing or selling this new technology. This of course builds on the extensive resource of technology presentations available to our readers on the Technology Showcase on the Offcuts web site.
As we move into the New Year - just how optimistic are you on the business conditions facing the sector over the next 12 months. Spend 30 seconds on this week's Offcuts poll and we'll bring you the results next week. Finally, our thoughts turn to all our readers who have been caught up or who have family or friends that have been affected by the flooding in Queensland, Victoria and NSW over the last three weeks. This week Timber Queensland has produced a technical bulletin, "A Guide to Assessment and Repair of Flood Damaged Timber and Timber Framed Houses" which may well be of use to those in flood damaged regions.
This week we have for you:
National Wood Conferences to Focus on Bioenergy
"Thanks to the focused efforts of the EECA wood energy projects team there has been a widening of the potential customer base for forest products companies selling renewable energy, particularly bioenergy from wood. Our 2011 conference will highlight this and other opportunities for both users and suppliers of biomass," says John Stulen, FIEA's event director of Residues to Revenues.
"We have seen growth and diversification in wood energy markets as wood producers move to better understand the needs of their bioenergy customers. As a result we have some excellent case studies - from the customers' perspectives - which feature in the upcoming industry conference series," said Mr Stulen.
As a special offer for this first 2011 event, a “two for one rate” has been established for those who will be registering BEFORE 4 February. The FIEA conference will be held on 30-31st March at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua and again in Melbourne on 4-5 April 2011. For full programme information see www.woodresiduesevents.com.
NZ timber leader, Sir Richard Carter, diesSir Richard Carter, a member of one of the founding families of the Carter Holt Harvey Ltd. timber empire, has died, in Auckland, aged 75. Sir Richard was the third generation head of the family sawmilling and forestry group. He was responsible for creating, in 1985, what was then New Zealand's fourth-largest public company, Carter Holt Harvey, the result of the merger of forester Carter Holt Holdings and manufacturer Alex Harvey Industries. More >>
40 million ha of forest for China?China became the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter in 2006 and they now make up 17% of the world’s total carbon dioxide output. With their current economic growth rate of 8%, analysts estimate China’s carbon dioxide output will increase by over 90% in the next decade.
As most developed countries aiming to reduce carbon dioxide levels, it is clear that the world needs China to act too. The good news is that China has been making progress through investing in forests, renewable energy and green technologies. As part of China’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide levels, they have committed to planting 40 million hectares of forest by 2020. Worldwide, forestry is seen as a key resource in the fight against climate change due to the forest’s ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide.
Other major climate policies include a target to have 15% of their energy needs coming from renewable fuels and to slow greenhouse gas emissions, relative to economic growth, by 40 to 50% between 2005 and 2020. China has become a leader in green technologies and a will be providing $US216 billion in subsidies to further fund expansion in this sector.
Hong Kong investor seeks NZ forestsGreenheart Group, a forestry investment company, plans to issue new shares in Hong Kong a part of a US$77 million buy-up of Mangakahia forestry assets in New Zealand’s Northland region. Hong Kong-listed Greenheart plans to raise US$37 million through a share issue to buy 11,000 hectares of radiata pine forests once-owned by Carter Holt Harvey Ltd., from its own major shareholder, China’s Sino-Forest Corp. More >>
New Industry Careers and Education campaign
In March FWPA will be releasing the second phase of the growingcareers.com.au which will go beyond forestry careers and look at the wide and diverse range of careers across the whole industry. The website will be a comprehensive resource for people looking to change their career or for those just starting out.
The site will be supported by a national consumer marketing campaign which will include a mass media campaign of airport outdoor and magazine advertising, online display and email advertising, as well as press and postcard advertising.
This program is aimed to help job seekers get a better understanding of the diversity of sector in terms of employment opportunities and geographical location. If you would like further information or wish to be involved please email email@example.com or call 0412 811 450 by Friday 21st January.
New Zealand’s 2010 forestry statistics releasedThe Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry made public the provisional data from its National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD) on its website. The NEFD 2010 provisional data release provides a detailed description of New Zealand's planted forests and forest activities such as estimated planting and harvesting statistics.
The full report and accompanying commentary will be published in April 2011 once data is finalised. The full report will also contain an estimate of the 2010 deforestation. The NEFD is published annually to assist infrastructure and policy planning, and is compiled from a survey of forest owners and forest managers.
This is the second year that provisional data has been published prior to the full report, in response to requests from industry for information as soon as it becomes available. MAF produces this information in cooperation with the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association and it is now in its 27th edition.
The NEFD 2010 provisional release can be found on the MAF website www.maf.govt.nz listed as the National Exotic Forest Description.
Key facts from the provisional release show that at 1 April 2010:
• The total standing volume of wood increased from 457 million cubic metres in 2009 to 467 million cubic metres in 2010.
• The total harvested area was up 1700 hectares from 2009 to an estimated 43 500 hectares in 2010.
• Area-weighted average clearfell age for radiata pine increased slightly from 28.3 in 2009 to 28.4 in 2010.
• The estimated new planting figure for the year ending 31 December 2010 is 6000 hectares.
GE pine trees approved in NZCrown Research Institute Scion just before Xmas welcomed the Environmental Risk Management Authority’s decision to approve, with controls, its application to field test genetically modified radiata pine (Pinus radiata) in outdoor containment.
“Scion’s role for New Zealand is to scientifically assess the commercial potential of new technologies for forestry. Our application was a logical extension of the research we are currently conducting under previous approvals,” says Group Manager Bioproduct Development Elspeth MacRae.
Field trials are designed to provide proof of concept in a contained outdoor site that is similar to a natural forestry setting. They are an intermediate stage between the production of genetically modified trees in the laboratory and commercial forest plantation.
“We will be assessing traits that have the potential to directly benefit the forestry industry, such as wood density and stability, tree growth, biomass utilisation and reproductive development. Also, we will continue to check relevant environmental impacts during the trials,” says Dr MacRae.
The approved application permits Scion to plant genetically modified Pinus radiata in a series of experiments over a 25-year period. Planting can only occur in a 4-hectare field test site on Scion’s Rotorua campus. The trees growing on the field test site must be killed by being cut down when they reach 8 years of age or as soon as they begin to develop reproductive structures.
No pollen or seed will result from the field tests because ERMA’s controls require frequent inspections to identify male catkins or female cones soon after they begin to form. These immature structures must be removed within 24 hours of their detection and then destroyed.
Further information on Scion’s genetic modification research is available at www.scionresearch.com and ERMA’s full decision is available at www.ermanz.govt.nz
Sawmill redundancies require Government responseToday’s (Tuesday) 44 redundancies at Tangiwai Sawmill, New Zealand has prompted the union representing workers in the wood industries to call for more action from government to address the issues confronted by the sector. WPI has reduced its Tangiwai Mill workforce by 80, including today’s 26 voluntary and 18 compulsory redundancies. This follows the mothballing of its Prime Sawmill in Gisborne and 26 job losses at CHH’s Kawerau Sawmill, both announced late last year.
More >> and reaction to the announcement.
VicForests under review after AU$16M lossThe future of the Australian state of Victoria's commercial forestry business VicForests is under government review after losses of more than AU$16 million in the 2009-10 financial year led to a low-cost state loan of AU$16.6 million, according to the company accounts, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on 3 January.
Experts blamed the losses on the industry's move to logging plantation forests, the Black Sunday wildfires and costs of replanting, and said the company is “fundamentally dead.” However, the government is committed to exploring all management options leading to a sustainable future for the timber industry, said Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh.
VicForests is “running out of cash,” said a senior analyst with a major financial institution, who asked not to be named. “It's a business that's completely non-viable,” the analyst said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Resource economist Dr. Judith Ajani, with the Australian National University, said the structural change in the industry as it moved from native forests to plantation timber has left behind state-owned loggers such as VicForests. State governments “are propping up a fundamentally dead business,” said Ajani.
Walsh said VicForests reports to three government departments and the Coalition would carry out its pre-election promise to slash that number to one. It would be inappropriate to say more until the government completes its review, said Walsh. The former Labor Party had promised to abolish VicForests and replace it with a new entity. Source: www.forestweb.com
Log salvage underway in SA
An estimated 20,000 tonnes of timber was wind-thrown and must now be salvaged. ForestrySA Mid North Forest Manager Mr Gary Pearson said the damage had come about as a consequence of a combination of strong winds, wet soils and recent thinning operations within affected plantations.
“Salvage operations began shortly after the event and the contractors involved are making above-expected progress,” he said. “An area of 130ha equates to more than two years’ worth of planting for ForestrySA’s Mid North pine plantation area,” he said. The majority of the salvage work is expected to be completed by mid-January 2011.
Sales mandate secured for 2.5 M NZ carbon creditsAustralian environmental services company CO2 Group Limited, have announced that its overseas joint venture CO2 New Zealand Limited Partnership now has finalised commercial mandates with New Zealand entities for the sale of over 2.5 million New Zealand Units (NZUs).
Mr Andrew Grant, CEO of CO2 Group, said its joint venture in New Zealand is progressing ahead of expectations. "The NZUs under management now are significant and further updates will be provided as the management of the NZU portfolio grows. Other business areas are also progressing well".
Prices for spot NZUs throughout 2010 fluctuated between NZ$17 and NZ$21 valuing this portfolio update between NZ$42.5 million and NZ$52.5 million. More >>
Amcor to sell Melbourne assetThe Australian has reported that packaging giant Amcor Ltd could reap over Au$150 million from the sale of its paper mill site in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield. Last year, the site was pulled from sale after it failed to find a buyer. It’s now back on the market and an international tender is expected to be launched next month.
Proceeds from the sale of the Fairfield site will go towards funding the construction of Amcor’s 345,000 tonnes a year recycled paper mill at Sydney’s Botany, which, at an estimated cost of AU$400 million, is the company’s single biggest investment.
Australian timber industry movementsPhilip Dalidakis, chief executive of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries has resigned to take up the position of deputy chief of staff in the Melbourne and Canberra offices of Senator Stephen Conroy, federal minister for broadband, communications and digital productivity. He joined VAFI in 2007 on the resignation of Tricia Caswell, previously working as a senior adviser to the Victorian Government. Lisa Marty will act as deputy chief executive until the VAFI board meets on 28 January.
Another well-known Australian timber identity, John Simon, has also recently been appointed as CEO of Simmonds Lumber. He will be replacing Paul Elsmore who has retired and takes up the position from 1 March. John has held a number of senior positions within the timber industry. He is currently Chief Executive of Hudson Building Supplies which was recently purchased by building services group Crane Distribution.
NZ Government announces ETS reviewClimate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith just before Xmas announced the panel and terms of reference for the review into the NZ emissions trading scheme to ensure it is meeting its purpose of reducing emissions at least possible cost and that New Zealand is appropriately pacing itself on climate change relative to its key trading partners.
“All the international evidence confirms that pricing emissions is the most efficient way of addressing climate change. This review is not about whether we have an ETS or not, but about the important operational detail and the pace of its implementation to strike the right balance between New Zealand’s economic and environmental goals,” Dr Smith said. More >>
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on...banned from Target
After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Target. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Target.
And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.
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