On Saturday 4 December 2010, 11:10 EST,
The first cracks have appeared in the peace deal between loggers and conservationists in Tasmania.
Tasmanian timber giant Gunns says it will continue to log native forests if the native forest peace plan fails.
The Managing Director of Gunns, Greg L'Estrange, says the company would rather exit native forest logging and build a plantation based pulp mill. But it is going to cost $2.5 billion to build.
Mr L'Estrange says the future of the controversial project is highly dependent on the peace plan that has been negotiated between the timber industry and environmental groups.
The plan would ease investors concerns about community opposition to the mill.
It is now in the hands of the State and Federal Governments, but Gunns says it cannot say when it will fulfil its promise to stop logging native forest.
"We don't have a fixed timetable. It's very dependent on getting the right outcome for the industry structure," Mr L'Estrange said.
"We've said that from the start, we've been saying that right from the start of these discussions back in May.
"It's very important to get the right structure. It's not necessarily about Gunns Limited, it's about the whole of the industry and reshaping the industry for it to be sustainable."
He says the long term plan is to eventually focus on plantation-based logging.
"We would cross that bridge when we get to it but we certainly see that our plantation business has opportunities to be developed," he said.
"We're confident that we can do that. We think that the right structure longer term is in that sector and I think that over time we would gravitate in that direction.
"But the speed will be dependent on what the structure looks like in the industry as a result of these discussions.
"If they do fall down, we need to ensure that that will mean there will be an ongoing cut at current levels. Our facilities are well placed to cater for that."
But Mr L'Estrange says Gunns would continue to log native forests if the peace plan falls over.
"For a period of time, because we have our facilities and businesses that would need to be operating but basically, if the peace talks fell over... the community of Tasmania are saying that they want to continue to log the native forest.
"That would be the principle reason why they fell over and so that they would like the industry to continue to extract and process those raw materials.
"What we are saying is that we would recognise that position from the community and we would steer our businesses in that direction until we found an alternative.
"We don't see ourselves in that sector for the longer time, but it does not mean that we don't think that there's a lot of good things about the industry, just that we think our future and the interests of our shareholders lie in another direction."