Tropik Wood and Gimco sign deal for biomass

Construction on a $35 million (€26.5 million) 10MW biomass-fired power plant in Nadroga, Fiji has begun following the formation of a joint venture between Tropik Wood Industries Fiji and Korea-based Gimco.

According to reports, the investment for the project will be sourced locally as well as through overseas funding. A timeframe of 28 months has been allocated, with completion slated for the end of 2016.

At the ground breaking ceremony, Minister for Fisheries and Forests Inia Seruiratu said: 'This facility would assist in reducing Fiji's reliance on imported fossil fuels. As a small island vulnerable nation, the high fossil prices have a significant impact on our macroeconomic fundamentals over the past three years. Over the past three years we have imported on average $1.2 billion worth of petroleum products.'

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Tropik Wood CEO and chairman Faiz Khan, and Gimco chairman Sang Sun Lee. The agreement will also allow for the exportation of biomass chips to the global market.

'Gimco's current and immediate demand is our bark waste that is a by-product of woodchip processing and other forms of biomass fuel such as branches that are left behind immediately after harvesting,' explains Tropik Wood's Khan. 'The JV provides a good opportunity for us to utilise all forestry and agriculture waste. Tropik will sell this waste to the JV that in turn will process it for exports thus maximising on pine wood usage. The JV will sell to the highest bidder in the open market.'

'Everything is ready and we can start to install the facilities in Fiji as soon as possible since we have our own market in Korea,' adds Lee. 'In Fiji, they only export high quality chips and other products they throw away. That is what we can use; everything else that is thrown away in the forestry and agriculture sectors in Fiji.'

Gimco's sister energy company Kenertec has existing biomass and cogeneration operations in Korea, China, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The project is expected to generate around 200 jobs.

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