The Sappi Saiccor mill is situated next to the Mkhomazi River a short distance upstream from the coastal town of Umkomaas in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
The mill takes fresh water from the Mkhomazi river and uses energy derived from dirty coal to convert wood fibre from mostly alien Eucalyptus tree plantations into cellulose for export markets.
However it also generates much atmospheric pollution which spreads into surrounding community areas. Liquid effluent is pumped out to sea, and solid waste in the form of ash and sludge is dumped onto farmland in the vicinity of the mill.
Over the years there have been incidents of poisoning of workers and children due to the accidental release of toxic gases. People in surrounding communities complain of illness due to the polluted air and dust they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Unfortunately Sappi Saiccor has chosen to continue expanding its production capacity despite numerous promises that it would clean up its act.
Sappi Saiccor is at present (May 2012) trying to obtain an integrated waste management permit that if granted will likely rubberstamp its existing waste dumping and pollution of air and water.