Woodchipping

So what are woodchips?

Woodchips are the result of sending tree trunks up a conveyor belt into a gigantic shredder (that takes only 7 seconds to devour an entire log). Trees are quickly transformed into chips half the size of a matchbox, and are what is used to make paper for products like throw away drink cups in Japan or Reflex paper here in Oz. 

Woodchips, pulp and sawdust accounts for at least 91% of all products to come from our native forests. Yet we are told by VicForests that classic porkie that logging is all for the sawn timber for nice tables and chairs and the woodchips are just the waste. Sure. They say what a shame it is to leave it all laying on the ground. Well, if they hadn’t cut all those trees down to start with there’d have been no waste to have to ‘clean up’.

To add to this crime, the government have sold these logs for between 9c and $5 a tonne. If you or I wanted to go cut a trailer load of firewood for ourselves, they’d charge us $20! It seems that the Japanese buyers have an especially cosy deal. Nippon owns both the Reflex paper factory in the Latrobe Valley and the Eden export woodchip mill. Both have been responsible for systematically annihilating the Central Highland’s Mountain Ash forests and East Gippsland’s mixed forests for years.

VicForests finally admits – the logs aren’t there

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Forests are not a Magic Pudding and this fact finally caught up with the government and VicForests in January 2017.  Knocking down forests faster than they can regrow has been the management standard for decades by every logging agency and overseen and excused by every government (Liberal and Labor). After such cut-throat management, the industry and workers are now screaming that their throats have been cut because the limit has been reached; forests can no longer provide the sawlogs demanded.

Forests - Another Chance for Peace

Monday, January 23, 2017

In 2010, economist Judith Ajani wrote about the forest wars that have besieged us over the last 40 years or more, the bad decisions made and what needs to be done. This is still as relevant today – in fact even more so as the industry is set to collapse due to overcutting but with the bosses screaming for more logs. Sadly, much of the remaining forests’ ecological values that were so critical to save then, have been lost – making the urgency now extreme. It’s a war between possums and pulpwood basically, politics and ethics.

New economic era for East Gippsland

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The call by the Auswest sawmill and Tim Bull for long term log contracts to be renewed (EGN/SRM 2 Nov) is a misguided ‘Magic Pudding’ mindset, according to Environment East Gippsland.

“Long term contracts are not being signed because there has been serious uncertainty of resource availability for quite a while”, said Jill Redwood from EEG. “The government initiated Forest Taskforce is currently looking into whether native forests can keep providing logs into the future. It appears this could now be very limited and so would be fiscally irresponsible to keep promising logs that might not be there.”

Storm-trashed woodchip mill - update

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last week the first clunky attempt to load woodchips – minus wharf and conveyor belt began. It was incredibly slow and took 8 chip trucks about 45 minutes each to load, drive around to the nearby navy wharf and unload to a makeshift conveyor belt. This constant convoy over 5 days isn’t the most cost effective way to load woodchips.  This is about 7 times less efficient than when they were filling ship hulls at the chip mill’s (now damaged) loading facilities. This is not a long-term viable solution - and the rebuilding of the jetty looks pretty remote.

Climate change whacks a worthy target – the CHIPMILL

Friday, June 17, 2016

Mother Nature dealt a 17m ‘Monster wave’ to the Eden woodchip mill’s loading facilities and jetty on 5th June. The east coast low that delivered this hit could be defined as an ‘Act of God’ meaning there might be no insurance payout.  Two massive chunks were taken out of the jetty, the pylons gone and the conveyor belt damaged. It might take 6-12 months to be rebuild and repaired.

Woodchip licences end in East Gippsland

Saturday, January 3, 2015

In April last year NIPPON announced it would not renew the woodchip licences after December 2014. VicForests has not been able to find another customer for its booty.

Nippon owns the chipmill and export facilities at Eden in NSW where millions of tonnes of EG forests have been shredded and shipped for over 40 years. This has been at great cost to tax payers through direct subsidies the chipmill and industry has received from governments.

Pages