CSO coalition raises serious questions over long-term security of fiber supply for new APP mill

( - The long-term fiber supply for one of the largest pulp mills to have ever been developed by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which is due to commence operations in the middle of this year has been called into question.

An analysisby aSouth SumatraCSOcoalitionreported that approximately 26 percent ofthepulpwood plantations(or 86,000 hectares)thatwereplanted onAPP concessionsin South Sumatra Province was burned out asa result of the 2015 land and forest fires.The newAPPmillis also located in South Sumatra.

"This raises serious questions about the long-term fiber supply to feed the new mill," said the CSO coalition in a press release on Feb 4.

The coalition asked APP to promptly release the results of its verification of the extent of the burned-out areas on its concessions in South Sumatra. In addition, the coalition called on APP to restore the burned-out areas.

"APP must make an assessment on the capacity of the fiber supply to feed its existing mills and the new mill over the short and long terms, and the findings of such assessment must be made available to the public," said the coalition.

The coalition said that the massive extent of the 2015 fires clearly showed APP's inability to comply with its legal obligations to prevent and control forest and land fires on its concessions. Consequently, Indonesia needed to conduct a comprehensive law enforcement operation in respect of the violations committed by APP concessionaires.

"APP has also yet to resolve outstanding conflicts with local communities," the coalition said.

In conclusion, the coalition called on civil society groups to ensure that the findings of the analysis were disseminated to all APP stakeholders, particularly financial institutions and buyers.