In Part One of our survey of the global particleboard industry, we reported on mills in Europe and North America. The general state of the industry in those two continents could be summarised as 'mild prospects for expansion' – especially for North America which at last, after the 2008 recession, sees housing construction on the increase and, after a long wilderness period, willingness and indeed eagerness to invest in new panel plants. Planned capacity in that continent now for the first time exceeds 10 million cubic metres per year.

This second part covers particleboard mills in the rest of the world.

Our main table shows particleboard mills operating, as at year-end 2015, outside Europe and North America; this is a total hardly changed from last year. The single addition to the table has been in China: that of the Yunnan Xinzexing WBP company, with a capacity of 150,000m3 per year. The other projected mills in China which we listed last year: those at Jianfeng and Ganzou, are believed not yet to have come on stream.

Similarly, the Akij Group in Bangladesh – one of the largest industrial conglomerates in that country – in March 2014 ordered a line from Siempelkamp, announced at the time as one of the world’s most advanced, with a Generation 8 ContiRoll press, the Ecoresinator blending system for the particleboard core layer, and optimised control of the pneumatic conveyors. This mill also has yet to commence production.

Which is not to say that things are static. Our table covers the period to the end of 2015. At least two mills have commenced or are commencing production at the end of 2016, as described later in this article; they therefore fall outside our period for inclusion in the main tables as operating mills, and still find their place as ‘Future Capacity Development’ in Table 5.

A new entry in that table is that of PG Bison at Piet Retief in South Africa. Bison already has a multi-opening Dieffenbacher press plant at the site, with a capacity of 115,000m3/year. The company has announced that work began this year on upgrading the particleboard press to a state-of- the-art conti-line press with a planned capacity of 340,000m3/year; an increase in capacity of 225,000m3/year.

Another new entry in Table 5 is Borg. In February 2016 Borg manufacturing in Australia announced that the company plans to spend AUS$100m (US$75m) extending its existing MDF plant at Oberon, New South Wales, to include a particleboard production line.

The company currently buys particleboard from South Africa, Europe and Asia, as well as from Carter Holt Harvey’s plants at Tumut (New South Wales) and Mount Gambier (South Australia). The Oberon site came into its possession in 2010, when Borg acquired the MDF and Woodchem facilities from Carter Holt Harvey. If permission is granted for the project, the factory will become one of only a few in the world to combine both MDF and particleboard production.

The expansion is designed to upgrade the existing site, which currently produces about 250,000m3 of medium density fibreboard products of various thicknesses and quality. The project, if executed, will produce new additional product outputs by adding approximately 400,000m3 of particleboard production to the Borg Panels Oberon complex. Orders have been placed with Siempelkamp, procurement activities commenced February-March 2016, and plant commissioning is due to begin in December 2016, so if completed on time this plant misses our December 2015 cut-off for inclusion in the main tables.

Iran is not a part of the world whose particleboard industry has received much coverage in recent years. Thanks to the kindness of Ali Shalbafan of the Departemnt of Wood Science and Technology at Tarbiat Modares university we are able now to remedy that and to update our figures.

The country has an area of 1.7 million km2, of which about 11.5 million hectares are forested; with a population of 80 million this gives capitation of forest of 0.15ha per head.

The amount of particleboard exported from Iran in 2015 was 28,283m3 and the amount imported was 13,701m3. Consumption is 0.033m3 per head.

There are 19 particleboard mills currently operating in the country. By far the largest is that at Poya Chob, whose output of 266,061m3 is almost three times that of its nearest competitor, Takteh Feshordeh Shomal. All but one of the particleboard lines in Iran use secondhand machinery, mostly imported from Europe. The exception is Poya Chob, which was a new line from Dieffenbacher installed in 2008.

Output in recent years has fluctuated, with a peak of 1,000,000m3 in 2014, which compares to the 2015 total of 835,000m3.

The number of projected mills is not small – no fewer than 10 are reported to be in the pipeline. The output from all these projects is intended for the Iranian domestic market, rather than for export.

Latin America

As we reported in our Focus on Latin America (WBPI, October/November 2016) the continent’s 20 countries face differing political and economic problems and are responding to them in different ways. Since our last report, Berneck’s new plant in Curitibanos, in the state of Paranà, had its start-up in early 2016 – see the Focus on Latin America referenced above for a more detailed report. Our main tables list capacity as at the end of December 2015, so this misses its entry by a whisker.

South-East Asia

Last year, we listed the Metro Ply panel mill in Thailand, with a planned capacity of 300,000m3 a year, as due to start up ‘beyond 2016.’ Metro Ply tells us that the company is indeed establishing this mill. Construction is in progress and the first board is hoped for before the year-end. Its capacity, however, will be greater than we reported last year, at 450,000m3 per year. The capacity of the company’s Line 1, (listed in the main table as Metro particle) at Sai Noi is now 300,000m3 (last year listed as 380,000 m3) and of their line 2 is 450,000m3 per year (last year listed as 420,000m3). The new line will bring the group's production to 1.2 million m3 per year in total.