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Arauco MAPA - On schedule for the next phase

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the world’s industries, shutting down operations and leading to the mass furloughing and laying off of workers and contractors. However, due to its massive importance to the country of Chile as well as to the global pulp and paper industry, Arauco’s MAPA project has continued, although in a much-adapted way.

The working environment Kimber alludes to is not just a normal operation, particularly in the case of the MAPA project. Here 8,000 workers from 40 companies and a multitude of disciplines and trades go to work at the site near the central Chilean city of Concepcion every day.

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“We have had to completely rethink the way we work on the MAPA project as well as across all of our operations. The virus has made us look very hard and deep at ways we can adapt our complete working environment to keep the health and safety of all of the many people connected to our operations at the forefront.”

CHARLES KIMBER

Vice President, Commercial & Corporate Affairs, Arauco.

MAPA – A MAJOR REORGANIZATION

The MAPA project was a whole new challenge on its own when it came to the virus, which demanded the complete reorganization of the working environment.

Kimber continues, “In early March, we had around 8,500 people working at the site and we decided that if we were to continue with the project, new, stringent working methods and conditions would have to be put into place. On March 20th we announced, together with the main suppliers and construction companies, to all the project companies involved that we were going to introduce a short pause for two weeks as we needed to reorganize, and implement new health and safety procedures due to the virus.”

The new measures have been positively and enthusiastically accepted by the MAPA project teams.

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In the two-week period, the company completely overhauled its working practices to take into account the threat from the virus – from the transportation of workers in and out of the project site, to a new working environment within the project – that took into account all the safety procedures and practices to ensure minimum threat from contagion or spread. From social distancing on buses and transportation to new gates and doors at the entrances, to new canteen measures and sanitary conditions, adaptation took place from top to bottom of the project.

Work continues on civil works at the MAPA project in Chile; the mechanical installation stage is next.

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MORE CHALLENGES AHEAD

The next stage of the MAPA project is the installation of key equipment and will include bringing skilled technicians from other countries to take part. “This is our next challenge,” says Kimber. “We will be bringing in 60 – 70 skilled technicians from countries including Finland, Austria, Brazil, and Uruguay to install our new equipment at the mill.

“We have already risen to this challenge and have been working very hard at a high level with the government in Chile. Due to the stringent measures and procedures we have put in place, we have full support to go ahead and continue with the next stage of the MAPA project.”

ANDRITZ – ON SCHEDULE WITH DELIVERY

ANDRITZ is a major supplier to the MAPA project. The scope of supply to the mill includes a complete wood processing plant, fiberline, black liquor evaporation plant, and complete white liquor plant.

While COVID-19 has had an impact on the overall schedule of the project, deliveries of key equipment continue to take place. At present, civil works are being readied and all areas are moving to the mechanical installation phase. Harri Makkonen, ANDRITZ Project Director for MAPA says, “All purchasing is now complete, and we are on schedule with our delivery. We are now moving towards the site supervision part of the project.

“There have been some effects of COVID-19 hampering our progress, mainly due to ongoing manufacturing delays in China, as well as delays with South American sub-suppliers. We have also experienced some delays in shipping due to ship availability and access blockages at ports abroad, as well as inland transportation because of travel restrictions at origin. However, considering the extent and seriousness of the virus, we are continuing to get things done and we are content with our progress.”

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