The Balıkesir SEKA Paper Mill has begun production after remaining closed for more than 19 years.
"A private enterprise invested some 140 million euros in the plant. This will save imports worth $150 million. We will be able to produce paper in our country," said Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology.
The mill converts scrap paper to usable paper. Minister Varank visited the plant and witnessed production resume at the factory under the private sector.
The minister added that the private company started production only after rebuilding the old SEKA Paper Mill from scratch. "In Balıkesir, paper is being produced again after almost 19 years. The facility can produce up to 1,000 tons of paper a day from 1,200 tons of scrap paper a day," he added.
Varank said they aim to pave the way for new paper mills. He added the investor firm brought back the old machinery to life with privatization. "We have identified paper as a strategic sector," he said.
He highlighted that by increasing paper production with the help of the private sector, Turkey would like to boost domestic paper production. Turkey currently depends on imports.
"We will be successful in this scope. Waste would previously be squandered. This is also an investment associated with the zero-waste project," Minister Varank continued. "In addition to the scrap paper collected in our country, we also import this product. We would like to develop the waste collection business and use the scrap paper in Turkey without the need for imported scrap paper in line with the zero-waste project. In this sense, it will make a great contribution to the economy. This is not a plant producing from wood cellulose. It is a facility that produces paper from scraps through recycling."
The SEKA Paper Mill started production in 1980 but ended its activity in 2000. The mill, which was later acquired by Albayrak Holding in 2003 as part of a privatization drive but could not be put into operation due to a 10-year appeal process.
Varank underlined that rebuilding work at the new mill started in 2013 and was completed this year. "Having commenced its trial production, the mill produces corrugated cardboard and wrapping paper. It is expected to provide 2,000 jobs with new product varieties that will be formed according to the needs of the market," he further explained.