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Saiccor Mill

The world’s largest single site manufacturing dissolving wood pulp (specialised cellulose) is situated 50km south of the port of Durban in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Sappi Specialised Cellulose's Saiccor Mill has the capacity to produce approximately 800,000 tons of Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) dissolving wood pulp per annum, most of which is for the export market.
Dissolving wood pulp, a product manufactured from timber which for Saiccor Mill is mainly sourced from Sappi plantations. It is sold as a raw material to converters globally who produce a wide range of consumer end products including textiles, cellophane wrap, pharmaceuticals and household products.
Unlike many synthetic raw materials, the product supplied by Sappi Specialised Cellulose is made from a natural and renewable resource. The mill’s timber consumption comprises primarily of Eucalyptus hardwoods. These fast growing trees are farmed in relatively close proximity to the mill, contributing to the mill’s position as a low cost producer of specialised cellulose.
Sappi Saiccor Mill produces a world-class product in a country where technology and infrastructure meet the demands of the global community.

Our products

The dissolving wood pulp supplied by Saiccor Mill is used by customers around the world in various applications, including Viscose stable and filament fibres, Lyocell, Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), Cellophane, Cellulose Sponge, Acetate Tow and Flake and Ethers (CMC, MC and HEC) .


Our milestones

  • Sappi Saiccor forms part of the new Sappi Specialised Cellulose division.
  • Commissioning of the US$480 million AmaKhulu expansion project to increase capacity to 800,000tpa
  • LignoTech expansion project to increase production by a further 40,000tpa at a cost of US$10.5 million.
  • De-bottlenecking and Modernisation project at a cost of US$40 million
  • LignoTech lignosulphonate recovery plant upgraded to 155,000tpa
  • Extension of existing effluent pipeline to 6.5km offshore commissioned
  • LignoTech lignosulphonate recovery plant (50/50 joint venture between Borregaard of Norway and Sappi) commissioned to extract lignin from the mill's effluent, thus reducing discharge into the sea
  • Completion of the US$221 million Mkomazi project enabling the mill to diversify its product range, upgrade quality, and increase capacity to 600,000tpa. Additionally the upgrade enabled the introduction of Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) bleaching, significantly reducing the mill's environmental footprint
  • Sappi acquires Saiccor
  •   Effluent pipeline commissioned

  • First plant and machinery installed in June and first Viscose pulp bales produced in December.  Design capacity of the plant being 110tpd (x365 = tpa)
  • Construction commences on the dissolving pulp manufacturing mill. Saiccor is the first mill to produce dissolving wood pulp from Eucalyptus timber - an important milestone that has revolutionised the industry
  • Saiccor Registered - a JV between Courtaulds (United Kingdom), Snia Viscosa (Italy) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa​


Our environment

All Sappi Specialised Cellulose employees are committed to responsible environmental management, which includes a policy aimed at the continual improvement of our environmental performance and compliance with the ISO 14001:2004 international environmental standard. The mill is also ISO 9001:2008 and OHSAS 18001:2007 certified.
All employees are all trained to understand, implement, and maintain our Environmental Management System. The focus and content of the system is also communicated to interest groups, local authorities, and communities through the media and community forums.

Main areas of our environmental performance are:

  • Installation of a 155,000tpa lignosulphonate recovery plant which was preceded by extensive public participation in an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Specific water consumption (m3/ADT) has steadily decreased by up to 900% since 1955 and is benchmarked against other chemical cellulose producers.
  • Emissions of particulates and sulphur dioxide from the site have been reduced by 84% following the installation of scrubbers and other improvements.

Our community

Sappi Specialised Cellulose has an extensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme concentrating on needs in the following areas:

Education and training

Sappi Saiccor supports the Umkomaas branch of the Programme for Technological Careers (PROTEC) that works with local schools and encourages underprivileged pupils to study science, maths and technology to help pave the way for career opportunities in engineering and other technically-oriented sectors in the region. Sappi Saiccor also has a long-standing schools assistance program to support local schools with educational requirements.

Environmental awareness and education

A number of environmental awareness programmes such as Arbor Week and the Coastal Clean-up are supported and aimed at educating both our employees and surrounding communities.  Sappi Saiccor has also supported a variety of conservation projects in the area over the years, such as the Empisini Nature Reserve and the TC Robertson Nature Reserve.

Social welfare

Sappi Saiccor supports registered non-profit organisations that have programmes in place aimed at building, nurturing and supporting our surrounding communities.

Technology Centre

Sappi Specialised Cellulose operates in global markets focusing on continuous improvement whilst utilising the benefits of the latest developments in technology. The Technical Centre of Excellence is at the heart of the company vision and strives to develop improved grades for existing markets and develop new grades for new applications.

Pilot cooking and bleaching equipment is used to investigate the effect of process and raw material changes on our final products.  Additionally pilot plant facilities for viscose, cellulose acetate, and cellulose ethers production allow a thorough assessment of the performance of Sappi Specialised Cellulose pulp in these applications. A comprehensive understanding of our customers' processes and the impact of our pulp on their product quality provides us with the tools required to identify and ‘tailor-make' products best suited to each specific customer’s requirements.

Research is conducted on the chemical and physical properties of cellulose, including reactivity and accessibility, having a significant impact on product performance in our customers' processes. 

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