Tue | Jan 18, 2022

Westmoreland to get US$300m bamboo pulp factory

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2021 | 12:15 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

With bamboo emerging as a viable alternative in making more eco-friendly straws in light of the ban on single-use plastics, local investors are steadily increasing their stake in bamboo production.

Bamboo Bioproducts Limited (BBP), which is based in Kingston, is now in the process of investing US$300 million to establish a bamboo market pulp mill on former sugar lands in Frome, Westmoreland. It will be the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, says BBP.

“BBP envisions that on a conservative projection, in 10 years, we will be generating US$1.5 billion in resources,” said Zachary Harding, co-founder and executive chairman of BBP.

“The execution team of the project includes international pulp and paper experts as well as lead fundraiser/equity partner Delta Capital Partners Limited. They are actively progressing with the capital raise,” he explained, adding that there is a projected 22 per cent return on investment.

According to Harding, the establishment of the pulp mill will be a major economic boost to the parish of Westmoreland as the factory will be opening employment opportunities for residents.

“The facility will create some 500 jobs directly and 5,000 jobs indirectly,” noted Harding.

“This is by far one of the most significant projects undertaken in Jamaica in decades. Bamboo pulp is an outright export product. It will generate significant returns in hard currency,” explained Harding. “It ticks all the boxes, including sustainability development goods, and the mill will be eco-friendly, using a mix of clean and renewable energy sources.”

JAMPRO, as the lead facilitator for the project, has been working closely with the relevant government agencies to ensure a smooth investment and execution process.

“The project embodies all the characteristics of a well-planned public-private sector project,” said JAMPRO President Diane Edwards. “It will go a long way in helping to move the economy forward, getting us closer to helping our projected foreign-direct investment targets.”

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