Forest products giant Arauco got quickly back on course in the wake of Chile’s devastating earthquake and plans to invest US$215m to build a new medium density particleboard (MDP) plant and another plywood mill in Chile.

Construction of the 350,000m3/year San José plywood plant at Marikina, next to Arauco’s Valdivia pulp mill, in Chile’s newly created Los Rios region, is set to commence in January 2011 and should be up and running by November 2012, according to the group.

Further north in the Maule region, the group intends to construct a 300,000m3/year MDP plant, complete with a low pressure board lamination line and melamine paper impregnation unit, in the town of Teno.  Arauco aims to produce 50% of the plant’s output in the form of melamine finished panels.

The project also includes the installation of a thermal plant for hot gas generation and thermal oil which will be fuelled by biomass.

Commenting on the San Jose plywood project, Arauco chief executive Matias Domeyko said the group has been in the region for more than 20 years and believed the time was right to develop such a project.