A China-based Fortune 500 company and Sarawak State Economic Development Corp (SDEC) plan to jointly invest in a US$1.8bil (RM7.4bil) pulp and paper manufacturing plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.
Shan Ying International Holdings Co Ltd and SEDC will collaborate on the project under a memorandum of understanding the two parties inked in Anhui Province, China, last week.
The MoU signatories were Shan Ying chairman Wu Mingwu and SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain. Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg witnessed the event.
Shan Ying, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, is principally engaged in the manufacture and distribution of paper products. The company is one of the largest industrial paper-making enterprises and extra-large packaging board manufacturers in China.
The company, according to a SEDC statement, has built a domestic and foreign regenerated fibre recycling network, water transport terminals, a private power station, industrial wastewater treatment facilities and other supporting systems.
Shan Ying boasts an annual yield of 3.05 million tonnes of paper and one billion tonnes of cardboard and paper carton, ranking top in the industry in terms of production scale.
"In Sarawak, Shan Ying intends to establish a fully integrated pulp and paper manufacturing plant with a production capacity of two million tonnes per annum and manned by 2,500 personnel.
"The US$1.8bil project will be implemented in two phases. Construction of phase 1 of the plant will commence in 2020 and is targeted to be completed and operational by 2023.
"Phase 2 will commence immediately after completion of Phase 1," according to SEDC.
Johari, in welcoming the Chinese investment in the mega project, said it would be a value-added industry as the plant would use imported recycled paper for its production without having to exploit Sarawak's natural resources.
The Chief Minister was reportedly impressed with Shan Ying's eco-friendly technology for paper production, which include extensive waste-water treatment facilities.
"The clean, safe and environmentally friendly technology will use our renewable energy from hydroelectric infrastructure," said Johari.
He said the plant would generate spin-off economic activities and benefit Sarawakians, as there would be an expected demand for skilled manpower that requires sharing of technical expertise that would lead to the development of technical colleges and training centres.