Louisiana-Pacific prepares OSB expansion in South America

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US Louisiana-Pacific prepares its latest OSB expansion project in Latin America with the addition of a third board mill in Chile. 

According to WoodBasedPanels International (WBPI), quoting LP's CEO Curt Stevens, the company submitted the project for environmental consent and says it should get the go ahead in late summer when construction could begin. The start-up of the mill could be in 2016, depending on the Chilean economic context.

The overall investment could go up to US$60 million in the line which will include used machinery shipped to Chile from discontinued plants in the US. Originally, LP indicated it would install a line larger than its two existing Chilean units with a capacity of perhaps between 300,000 and 350,000m3/year. 

However, says WBPI,  a housing and economic slowdown after Chile's change to a Socialist government could delay the plan. Prices remain under pressure due to US panel imports despite the strong US dollar.

OSB output at LP Chile's Lautaro mill stopped for a month in July 2014 when a failed flaker was rebuilt. LP's South America segment in 2014 recorded sales of US$150 million and US$20 million net profit, both down compared to 2013. 

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