MARSHALL ISLANDS COPRA PROCESSOR BACK IN BUSINESS

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 15, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---Tobolar has found a buyer for most of the oil that it currently has on hand and it is expected to be exported during April.

2,800 tons of more than 3,000 tons of oil currently filling Tobolar’s tanks will be sold, according to Jerry Kramer. It is Tobolar’s first oil sale in 18 months.

Because its tanks have been full, the plant has been unable to continue processing copra into oil for many months and its warehouse is piled high with copra awaiting processing -- which will begin after April’s sale.

Tobolar will receive about $800,000 from the sale -- well below what it could have gotten three years ago for the same amount when the world price of oil was three times higher.

But, Kramer added, the world price has improved significantly in the past few months so the value of April’s sale is much improved over the price that Tobolar could have gotten last year if it tried to sell the oil when the world market was extremely low.

A key benefit of the new refinery equipment now up and running at Tobolar is that the refined oil can be sold in much smaller, single container lots, Kramer said. This will mean that Tobolar won’t have to wait until the large volume necessary for unrefined oil exports has been accumulated before it can sell its locally produced oil.

In addition, refined oil opens new opportunities for improving soap, shampoo and body oil, as well as cooking oil products for Tobolar.

 

REFINING THE OLD RMI COPRA PROCESSING SYSTEM

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (March 15, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---Tobolar Copra Processing Plant’s new oil refinery was officially opened with a ceremony at the Delap facility on Monday.

The dedication started about two hours after the scheduled time as officials waited for President Kessai Note and Tobolar board chairman Bobby Muller, who were in an extended meeting Monday afternoon with Kwajalein leaders.

Taiwan Ambassador Gary Lin’s government is providing $1.2 million to Tobolar, with $1 million toward plant equipment and $200,000 for a copra revolving fund. In comments, he emphasized copra’s significance not only to the Marshall Islands but other nations in the region.

Looking back to the Japanese period, Lin said that the islands were very active economically to the point where they were self-sustaining. "We are confident that self-reliance is an achievable goal," he said, adding that by working in partnership with the RMI, the U.S., Japan, Asian Development Bank and other donors can help to improve the economic situation in the RMI.

Guests receive a tour of the new refinery facility, and got to see a diesel outboard motor, a small generator and a pickup truck operating from oil refined at Tobolar.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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