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.

Howard buy$ more donation$

Sunday, May 2, 2004

APM, AMCOR, Australian Paper, Paperlinx, whatever you want to call this huge Latrobe Valley pulp and paper mill, they clearly have very close connections with the state and federal governments. Donations and gifts flow freely between them (see the article here on political donations from woodchip companies).

130 trucks a day into Eden woodchip mill

Friday, April 9, 2004

Members of Chipstop at Bega held a four day vigil outside the Eden woodchip mill from Monday to Thursday, 15th - 19th December 2003. They documented the truck loads carted into the giant chipmill and export wharf.

Of the stream of 130 trucks a day that drove through the gates to the woodchip pile by the Eden wharf in NSW:

61% contained the trunks of trees from mature or multi-age native forests; 25% carried thinnings from regrowth native forests (some, but not many, of these may have come from hardwood plantations);

Pasta fuel

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

In the never-ending search for new and innovative ways to make a buck from our native forests, one enterprising shipping company decided to try sending a load of Gippsland and WA woodchips to Italy for fuelling a biomass-burning electricity plant.

After enquiries, we were told that it was a financial disaster and they lost out very badly. This isn't surprising, considering it's not viable to cart chips any distance within Australia for the same purpose.

The idea of exporting forests to help boil Italian pasta should now be permanently wiped off their list of brainstorms.

How many logs left in the Wombat?

Friday, June 20, 2003

Over a three year period, the estimates volume of logs dropped by 98%! Have the department's claims been miscalculations or gross fraud?

The calculations for the Wombat forest was given the highest score of any forest area. They got a 4 out of 5. Considering it's the tiniest forest area (36,000 compared with 1 million ha in East Gippsland), had more time spent on it and has now only 2,000 ha of loggable forest left, you'd think they should be able to come to within cooee of what they call sustainable yield.


Thursday, April 10, 2003

About 90% has already been logged over the past 25 years, but before the November 2002 State election, Bracks promised no more woodchipping the Wombat - never ever. Some logging will continue - around 8,500 m3 a year. Congratulations to all who helped get the chippers out.

DE-FENDING de fence (plastic contaminates woodchip pile)

Friday, April 4, 2003

The huge Daishowa export woodchip mill at Eden in NSW seems to have had some trouble with plastic and other contaminants getting into their chip pile last year. They of course blame conservationists but it could be the workers lunch wrappers for all we know. When the contaminated chips get to Japan, they can cause major upsets to production, destroying thousands of dollars worth of paper rolls. Quite costly and annoying to the Japanese paper companies. In fact they have threatened to take their business elsewhere.

License buy-back ignores woodchips

Thursday, September 5, 2002

In late August, Minister in charge of logging, Sherryl Garbutt, announced the intention to offer Victorias 58 sawmill owners money in return for their promised allocation of logs (didnt we hear this same thing six months ago?). However, the offer ignores the woodchip licences. The government is still operating under the illusion that chips are simply a by-product of logging. Even John Brumby needed a drawing done before he understood that this wasn't the case.