Woodchip Exports – A lifeline for the Tiwis

Australia’s hardwood market is enjoying a boom season with the demand for its woodchips increasing in Asia.

The Australian native, Tasmanian Blue Gum wood chips take the center stage in the global demand for wood chips going at a record increase beyond $260 per bone-dry ton translating to $US182/bdmt. Midway Limited, the country’s largest woodfibre processor and exporter has acquired a logging and haul business in Western Australia, is going on expanding its operations in the industry, undertaking forestry projects. One of its major projects are in the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.

The business is estimated to grow, with china being the main buyer. The market had witnessed a serious drop not many years ago, where there was a surplus of the Blue Gum woodchips. That has been completely overturned.

Asia has been showing keen interest importing woodchips, more than ever, exceeding demand from japan. The Indonesian market will soon open for business too. China will woodchip for different purposes, tissues, rayon fiber and Thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP), used for producing high quality cardboard and packaging. Tasmanian blue gum remained the premium woodchip in the market, but other varieties of timber chips such as acacia mangium have enjoyed a good share as well. This encouraged forestry projects in the Tiwis.

The indigenous Tiwi population has been struggling for sometime the forestry projects ensuing will promise local employment, a boost to the livelihood and improved infrastructure.  The Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory are home to a 30,000-hectare plantation of acacia mangium trees.

Where on one hand, hardwood will see its market soar, solid soft wood will see a severe downfall.