The influence area of the new pulp mill includes the central and north-east regions of the country. It covers the departments Tacuarembó, Durazno, Florida and Cerro Largo with about 310,000 inhabitants in total.
The regions' main livelihood is based on cattle, agriculture and forestry. These are the least developed area of the country when looking at the share of households below the poverty line, as well as its capability for regional competitiveness (Departmental Development Indicator, CINVE 2007-2015). There are differences also in socioeconomic dimensions and roads. All these restrict the development of economic activities by the private sector, and at the same time reduce opportunities for employment and the possibility of infrastructure development.
UPM’s project has created several opportunities for local and regional development and cooperation to maximise the benefits and positive impacts.
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As part of the housing solutions plan created in cooperation with the Uruguayan authorities, UPM constructed temporary and permanent houses for the employees of the pulp mill. Located in Paso de los Toros, Pueblo Centenario, Carlos Reyles and Durazno city, these housing solutions provided accommodation for over 5,500 employees. After the completion of the construction works, the temporary houses have been pulled down for other use, whereas the 60 permanent houses and the infrastructure of the temporary houses have been transferred to the state ownership.
All these houses were constructed by Uruguayan companies mostly from the interior of the country. The construction of the housing solutions generated employment for around 400 people at the construction peak.
The housing solutions plan is a complementary project to the construction of the pulp mill and was developed jointly with the MVOTMA, through the National Directorate of Land Planning (DINOT) and the National Directorate of Housing (DINAVI), the Planning and Budget Office (OPP), the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MTSS), the local authorities of Durazno and Tacuarembó departments, and UPM. Its main objective is the orderly arrival of workers as well as their positive integration into the communities.