Managing director Datuk Lim Thiam Huat said the physical work for phase one of GTP is currently at 75 per cent completion with the infrastructure works expected to be done by April.
"All the machines have been delivered here and the installation process is most likely to finish by May, before we start trial production in June.
"About 200 jobs are expected to be created during the first phase, with priority for the jobs to be given to the locals, especially to the second-generation of Felda settlers from Pekan," he told Bernama here today.
Lim had earlier made a site visit to Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd, meeting the team led by its chairman Anuar Malek.
The wood-free paper is produced using a major breakthrough in technology that enables the conversion of oil palm empty fruit bunches into pulp, thus allowing them to be used for paper production.
"The location in Pekan is seen as convenient since we are surrounded by oil palm mills and plantations that can supply of the raw materials, and it is not too far from Kuantan Port and town," he said.
Besides using electricity provided by Tenaga Nasional Bhd, GTP will be powered by the latest solar technology while its treated water is sourced from the river and lake nearby, he said.
Phase one of GTP is expected to produce 10,000 metric tonnes of paper annually, while phase two that involves the production of tissue paper will begin development soon after the completion of phase one.
For phase two, NGGB has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two listed Japanese firms, namely IHI Corp and Nomura Holdings Inc, Lim noted.
GTP, which is being developed on 165 hectares at a total cost of RM2 billion, started in 2015 and involves five phases which, according to Lim, will all be completed in the next three years.
Apart from pulp and paper, GTP’s core technologies are in fertiliser, animal feed, research and development (R&D) education and renewable energy.
On completion, GTP will be equipped with various amenities, including an R&D building, employees' hostel with sport facilities, shoplots and a waste water treatment plant.
"We estimate about 2,500 job opportunities will be created, and for now, we are looking forward to working with Universiti Malaysia Pahang and Universiti Putra Malaysia to provide internship placements for their students," Lim said.
Meanwhile, Anuar of Koperasi Permodalan Felda said the organisation hopes locals, especially those from the nearby Felda settlement, will be given priority when filling in the new positions to improve their economic status.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with NGGB, especially in the supply of raw materials from oil palm leaves and fruit bunches, in addition to assisting in marketing, especially for the fertilisers to be produced here,” he said.