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Finnish Company Halts Pulp Mill Project in Uruguay


A Finnish company has stopped construction of a pulp plant in Uruguay to help the country resolve a dispute with neighboring Argentina over the project's environmental impact.

Finnish pulp maker Metsa-Botnia said Sunday it will suspend construction of the mill for 90 days. The plant is located along the Uruguay River, which forms a natural border with Argentina. Spanish company Ence is building another pulp plant in the same region.

Argentines living across the river fear the two pulp mills will damage their farmlands and pollute the air. Argentine protesters have blocked several bridges leading into Uruguay in recent months, triggering diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors.

The protesters began opening the bridges last week as the leaders of Uruguay and Argentina -Tabare Vazquez and Nestor Kirchner - said they were willing to discuss environmental concerns about the mills.

Uruguay has defended the project as the largest industrial investment in the country's history.

Metsa-Botnia says its plant is being built with the most environmentally-friendly technology available.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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