Sappi Southern Africa
Sustainability Report


200 cooks and over
15,000 analyses
That's what it took the Technology Centre and a team from Ngodwana Mill to develop a novel extraction technique to achieve the desired sugar recoveries at the lowest possible water usage. The team proved that this can be achieved without impacting on the reactivity of dissolving wood pulp.
Based on the success of our hemicellulose sugar extraction demonstration plant at Ngodwana Mill, commissioned in 2017, we are now further progressing the development of our biorefinery capacity. In 2019, we will be constructing a Xylex® demonstration plant at the mill to further scale up our novel Xylex® technology for the clean-up of the extracted sugars stream, to allow production of xylose, xylitol and furfural.
A low-calorie sweetener, xylitol has positive dental properties and produces no insulin response, so is suitable for diabetics. Furfural is a versatile green industrial chemical derived from C5 sugars with a diverse range of derivatives.


  • Potential creation of job opportunities.
  • Product offering of second-generation sugars does not impact food security.
  • Meaningful revenue from a new business segment.