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Latrobe Valley Express Aug 25, 2008: Paper Giant Seeks Buyer for Maryvale Mill

***PRESS RELEASE - 11/10/00***

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BUYERS OF PAPERLINX PLANTATIONS COULD BE UP FOR HUGE INFRASTRUCTURECOSTS

Recent rumours suggesting that paper company PaperlinX may soon be takenover by a US buyer will have serious ramifications for that buyer says environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoE). A recent field trip to PaperlinX plantations in the Strzelecki Ranges on October 1st revealed massive infrastructure problems. These problems included sub-standard roading and culverting, inadequate drains, land slumpingdown hillsides and landslides. Friends of the Earth Forest Network spokesperson Anthony Amis said "The extent of the destruction was unbelievable. It was clear that the land was eroding away before our eyes. The roading was extremely shoddy, meaning that to get the roads up to the standard of the Code of Forest Practices - the legal document governing forestry operations in Victoria- a huge amount of money would have to be invested. We estimated that new roads, culverts and drains on that one forest area alone would cost many many thousands of dollars. PaperlinX has something like 80,000 hectares of plantations. Local environment groups have also stated thatthe coupe we visited on October 1st is not unusual. Many other plantations are in a similar bind. "You have to remember that PaperlinX is sitting on very old logging infrastructure. Many of the roads were established prior to the Code ofForest Practices being established and are therefore sub-standard. Costs for improving these sites will add up to many millions of dollars. Meanwhile the environmental problems associated with such poor forestry operations are monumental. All of this erosion has serious impacts on all downstream users of water coming from these plantations. FoE believes that forest owners may also be up for legal challenges overwater quality issues in the near future. Water testing at the plantation site between the east and west branch of the Jeeralang Creek measured between 800 and 1300. An exceptionally high reading" said Mr Amis. Hancock Victorian Plantations, the other major forest owner in the Strzelecki's has been dogged by environmental problems since they purchased the assets of the Victorian Plantation Corporation in November1998. "We predicted that Hancock would encounter all sorts problems andour predictions have come true" said Mr Amis. "Hancock are currently being threatened with legal action by the local shire and their $130 billion insurance business in the United States is coming under boycott because of their destruction of koala habitat in the Strzelecki's. Apparently Hancock were told nothing about the significance of theStrzelecki's prior to buying the rights to log their land holdings bythe Kennett government. "We understand that Hancock has even gone tothe Bracks Government to get the Government to buy the Strzelecki's backfrom them" said Mr Amis. "The Bracks Government refused". "The buyers of PaperlinX will buy into even larger problems than what Hancockis facing" Mr Amis warned.For further information about Hancock's activities in the Strzeleckislook up the following website: www.forests.org.au/strzelecki/

For further information call Anthony Amis on (03) 9419 8700

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