New foreign-owned sawmill chooses Uruguay for pine processing

In the presence of authorities, Kluntex Lumber inaugurated its facilities in Rivera.
Publication date: 19/02/2024

Uruguay again stands out as an investment destination for forestry and timber sector enterprises after the inauguration of Kluntex Lumber in the Uruguayan department of Rivera in February. 

The new sawmill, the result of an investment of US$ 8 million from U.S. and Chilean capital, comprises two plants, one on a larger scale located in Rivera and the other in Tranqueras. It will have a monthly production of 7,000 cubic meters of sawn pine lumber, which will produce different products such as clear lumber for the European market, furniture, and packaging for the Latin American market, mainly. In total, the operation is expected to generate 200 direct jobs.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, Walter Verri; the Mayor of Rivera, Richard Sander; the CEO of Kluntex Lumber, Ernesto Wagner; the investors in the project, Dan Qandt and Walter Benadof, the Executive Director of Uruguay XXI, Sebastián Risso and other relevant players from the private sector, attended the inauguration of the plant after toured the facilities. 

Wagner thanked Uruguay XXI for the support received throughout the project and emphasized that the difference in his company is the human team formed with workers from the Uruguayan-Brazilian border. The academic offer linked to the sector that exists in this region of the country, mainly through the Universidad Tecnológica del Uruguay (UTEC), the Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay (UTU), and the Universidad de la República, strengthened the Uruguayan talent. 

The Undersecretary of Industry, Energy, and Mining highlighted the importance of this venture to continue adding value to wood beyond the pulp industry already consolidated in the country. He also highlighted the dynamizing role of the forestry sector in the northern region of Uruguay, with important sawmills already installed and to be installed.

The North American directors of the company said that they chose Uruguay because of its stability and the certainties it offers. The executive director of Uruguay XXI emphasized the importance of the forestry sector in national exports and the joint work of the agency with other organizations, such as the Municipality of Rivera and the National Directorate of Environmental Control and Evaluation (DINACEA-Ministry of the Environment), to facilitate the installation of this sawmill.  

The forestry sector in Uruguay has a long tradition of sustainable forest management thanks to the 1987 Forestry Law. Native and commercial forests continue to expand, and more than 90% of the commercial forests are FSC-certified. 

This sawmill group joins other large exporting companies in the northern part of the country, including producing plywood and mass timber products such as CLT and glulam. 

Uruguay thus continues to consolidate its position as a regional hub for sustainable forestry production, not only for its pulp exports but also for mechanical wood processing.