Praxair Uruguay has signed a 15 year oxygen supply contract with a new Uruguay pulp mill facility. The pulp mill itself constitutes the largest ever privately executed investment in the South American country and will produce 1.3m tons of cellulose pulp per year from 2013.

The pulp mill complex is currently under construction in Punta Pereira, in the department of Colonia, Uruguay. It will be operated by Montes del Plata, a 50-50 joint venture between Arauco of Chile and StoraEnso of Finland and Sweden. Facilitating the agreement, Praxair will build, own and operate a non-cryogenic vacuum-pressure-swing-adsorption (VPSA) plant with a capacity of 126 tons per day of gaseous oxygen. The plant is scheduled to commence operation in early 2013.

Gilney Bastos, Business Executive Director of Praxair’s Brazil-based subsidiary, White Martins Industriais Ltda., commented, “We are pleased to support this strategically important project with Praxair´s second plant in Uruguay, strengthening our presence in the region with a strong partnership with Arauco and StoraEnso.”

Erwin Kaufmann, General Manager of Montes del Plata responded, “We have reached a good agreement with Praxair, which will benefit both parties. A state-of-the-art pulp mill needs state-of-the-art suppliers, so we are happy having Praxair as one of our partners in line with our main objective, which is to build the best pulp mill in the world.”

The pulp mill will be the largest-ever privately executed investment in Uruguay. The joint venture is investing $1.9bn in the construction of a state-of-the-art pulp mill, a power generation unit based on renewable sources and deepwater port facilities. The complex is expected to produce 1.3m tons of cellulose pulp annually beginning in early 2013.

Used in the pulp bleaching process, oxygen delignification reduces active chlorine requirements, providing significant operating cost advantages and environmental benefits.