Summary

Information is provided on the technical and economic aspects of crude resin production from pine trees and on the subsequent production of gum turpentine and gum rosin (known commercially as gum naval stores). Recent trends in world production and markets are also reviewed. The publication is aimed at prospective new producers of gum naval stores, and organizations and individuals appraising projects involving their production. It is particularly intended for those in developing countries.

Total world production of rosin is approximately 1.2 million tonnes annually, of which almost 720000 tonnes, 60% of the total, is estimated to be gum rosin derived from tapping living pine trees. World production of turpentine is about 330000 tonnes from all sources, of which 100000 tonnes is estimated to be gum turpentine. The number of countries producing gum naval stores is large but the People's Republic of China dominates production and world trade; of the other producers, Indonesia, Portugal and Brazil are the most important in terms of world trade. Present (early 1995) prices for gum rosin are at the highest levels for some years, due largely to recent events in the People's Republic of China. The prospects of entry into the international market by new suppliers will depend mainly on future trends in Chinese production and consumption.

Rosin has a wide range of applications including adhesive, paper size and printing ink manufacture. Turpentine is used either as a solvent for paints and varnishes, or as a raw material for fractionation and value-added derivative manufacture. Most prospective new producers will have opportunities for domestic or regional sales of rosin and turpentine.

While most pines are capable of yielding resin on tapping, it is only economic to do so if the quantity obtained is sufficient and its quality is acceptable. Both these factors are determined primarily by the species of Pinus which is tapped, so information is provided on the suitability of different species for gum naval stores production. Tapping can be carried out either on natural stands or plantations. Methods of tapping which do not adversely affect the quality of the trunkwood are described and these enable plantation pines to be felled and utilized in the normal manner when tapping is stopped. The cleaning and distillation operations involved in processing the crude resin are described, and quality criteria, specifications and packaging options for rosin and turpentine are provided.

An indication of the costs involved in the production and processing of pine resin is given. These are based on 1000 tonnes of resin being produced from 400000 trees which each yield an average of 2.5 kg of resin. The comparative advantages and disadvantages of domestic, regional and export markets for a new producer are discussed.