ZHITKOVICHI DISTRICT, 6 August (BelTA) – There are plans to build at least six more pellet plants in Belarus, BelTA learned from Belarusian Forestry Minister Vitaly Drozhzha as a pellet plant was opened in Zhitkovichi, Gomel Oblast on 6 August.
According to the source, the decision to build the pellet plants has already been made. Vigorous work is in progress. Payments in advance have been made to deliver equipment to a number of forestry enterprises. All the design work will be finished soon. Construction work will begin after that.
According to Vitaly Drozhzha, wood fuel pellet production is a promising line of business. “The entire Europe is intent on reducing the consumption of hydrocarbons. Fuel pellets represent an alternative biological raw material, a renewable source. These are highly profitable products and the pellet plants we've built are profitable. There should be no problems with the returns on investment. If we talk about an economic effect, we've already earned the first million in U.S. dollars in June. We expect $15 million in foreign currency earnings this year,” the forestry minister stressed.
Locations for setting up the new pellet plants have already been agreed. The places include Gomel, Staryye Dorogi, Osipovichi, and Orsha. The locations were chosen bearing in mind where raw materials will come from.
In May 2019 Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to process all the available timber resources inside the country, including low-quality timber. Fuel pellet production is one of the ways to accomplish it. Five out of the six pellet plants to be commissioned upon instructions of the head of state were ready as of early August: in the Pruzhany forestry enterprise, the Klichev forestry enterprise, the Borisov experimental forestry enterprise, the Novogrudok forestry enterprise, and the Zhitkovichi forestry enterprise. A pellet plant will be commissioned in the Mozyr experimental forestry enterprise this month, too. The Forestry Ministry has implemented another project on top of that – in the Kopyl experimental forestry enterprise. The approximate cost of all the projects is Br81 million in proprietary funds of the forestry enterprises and in borrowed resources.
The construction of the pellet plants can accomplish several goals at once. Jobs are created and the stockpile of low-quality low-demand wood in Belarusian forests goes down. The projects also allow making products with a high added value that sell well abroad and generate additional foreign currency revenues for the country. Specialists estimate that the establishment of six pellet plants will allow using up to 350,000m3 of low-quality wood and over 120,000m3 of sawmilling waste every year.