Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Plantations interests of Mitsui, Nippon Paper and Midway

Existing woodchip plantations can immediately spare the Otways.

The Green Triangle and Central Victoria areas are relatively close to the Otways with large plantation resources they can immediately replace logging native forest for woodchips in the Otways.

Nationally Mitsui and Nippon Paper have jointly established their own private blue gum plantation operations in Australia. These include the Green Triangle Treefarm Project in South Australian and the Victoria Treefarm Project in Victoria.

An examination of plantation resources within Central Victoria and the Green triangle region show that as of September 2000, there is about 85,000 ha of hardwood plantations (mainly blue gum) and 187,000 ha of softwood plantations (mainly radiata pine). Source:Plantations of Australia 2001: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Nippon Paper and Mitsui began to utilise plantation woodchip from the Green Triangle areas in July 2004, with an initial export of 6000 tonnes from Portland.

The construction of a new woodchip mill in Portland by next year will allow the export of 500,000 tonnes of blue gum woodchips per annum when fully operational.

Nippon Paper has already established and secured access to 60,000 hectares of woodchip plantations in Australia.

Midway owns more that 10,000 ha of softwood and hardwood plantations, much of this in the Otways.

Victorian Treefarm Project

Midway, its trading partner Mitsui and end customer Nippon Paper have entered into a 30 year joint venture plantation project called the Victoria Treefarm Project (VTP). These companies have planted at least 3,700 ha of blue gum plantations on private land within 150 kilometres of Geelong.

As of January 2004, no mention of Midway is made on the Mitsui website even with respect to their plantation business interests. However Midway claims it is the operator of the VTP in letters it sent out to prospective clients in 2001. (An OREN supporter received a letter from Midway inquiring if his land could be used for the VTP scheme.)

Mitsui fail to acknowledge profits from Otway logging.

The Mitsui Australia website (as at November 2004) claims the company is environmentally aware and a good corporate citizen. However the Mitsui web site does not mention their relationship with Midway, or their interest in trading Otway native forest woodchips.

Instead Mitsui creates the impression the company is mostly focused on woodchips from plantations.

From the Mitsui & CO Australia website Corporate Divisions page:

As part of our corporate responsibility, Mitsui is placing an increasingly high priority on environmental issues, addressing them on two fronts. First, the company has long set the goal of harmonising its activities with the environment. Second, Mitsui is working to contribute to the preservation of the environment through its business activities, including plantations**.

From the Mitsui Australia & CO website Forestry and General Merchandise page:

Plantation developments in Western Australia, Victoria** and South Australia are being carried out by Mitsui Plantation Development and MCA Afforestation along with Nippon Paper Industries of Japan. This is a significant advance in providing raw material for paper production into the new century, while securing stable and long term supplies at a time when non-plantation supplier’s face increasing environmental difficulties.

Given that Mitsui has stated it has "long set the goal of harmonising its activities with the environment" and Mitsui acknowledges "non-plantation suppliers face increasing environmental difficulties" it is reasonable for the Victorian community to now expect Mitsui to immediately refuse to trade Otway woodchips in line with State Government and local government policies. After all, this is Mitsui's "corporate responsibility".

**Midway, Mitsui and Nippon Paper have a joint venture business called the Victorian Tree Farm Project.



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