ND Paper will invest $300 million into its mills in Wisconsin and Maine in the next two years, sparking a transformation and new trajectory for ND Paper, the newly-formed U.S.-based subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited, the largest containerboard producer in Asia.
“Our mills in Rumford, Maine and Biron, Wisconsin are fully-integrated paper and pulp mills with approximately 1,000 employees and the capacity to produce 900,000 metric tons of pulp and paper annually,” ND Paper said.
According to company officials, after completing the purchase of its Rumford, Maine and Biron, Wisconsin pulp and paper mills in June 2018, ND Paper immediately executed a strategic review of investment options to further enhance the long-term sustainability of these facilities.
This investigation has led the Company to a multi-faceted investment strategy that diversifies the U.S. mills' product mix, increases their overall production capacity, and fundamentally improves their viability for generations to come, officials said.
In total, ND Paper expects to invest $300 million within two years to complete these projects. Combined, the projects will create 77 additional jobs in both states.
In Rumford, Maine these investments will sustain the jobs of the 650 employees who currently work at the mill, while the mill enhancements will add an additional 50 employees to the workforce over the next two years. The Rumford Division will receive an injection of $111 million to finance two significant projects. Planned projects include construction of a greenfield recycled pulp facility. This pulp line will add approximately 1,200 air dried metric tonnes per day (admtpd) of manufacturing capacity to the site. It will also see installation of a shoe press on the R15 paper machine, which increases the machine's production capacity by approximately 20 percent.
In Wisconsin, the Biron Division will commission several major projects at a cost of $189 million. These investments will preserve and sustain the jobs of the 350 employees who currently work at the mill, while the mill enhancements will add 27 additional jobs.
Planned projects in Biron include conversion of the B25 paper machine to containerboard products.In addition the mill will see construction of a two-line greenfield recycled pulp facility. These pulp lines will add approximately 1,900 air dried metric tonne pulp dryer (admtpd) of manufacturing capacity to the site. Construction of a water treatment and fiber recovery plant, a package boiler to provide energy, storage facilities for raw materials and a finished good warehouse, will also be completed.
"We invest for the long-term," said Ken Liu, ND Paper's chief executive officer. "While strongly supporting our global fiber strategy, this suite of projects also dramatically improves the sustainability of these historic mills. Not only are we developing a U.S.-based containerboard business, we're also reinforcing our commitment to existing printing and writing and specialty customers with world-class, cost-competitive assets."
These investments ensure the ND Paper team can operate these mills safely, efficiently and sustainably now and into the future, and reinforces ND Paper's commitment to its core customers and the economic viability of the communities it serves, officials of ND Paper said.
The Company said it is pleased to work in collaboration with both the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Maine Department of Economic Development on various options to support these strategic projects.
"I want to thank ND Paper for its continued investment in Maine," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "This $111 million investment will lead to the creation of 50 new jobs, and is a great example of ND Paper's commitment to improving the overall competitiveness and stability of the Rumford mill. We look forward to continuing to support and partner with ND Paper, as we strengthen and diversify our forest products industry now and well into the future."
"I want to commend ND Paper for making the decision to expand their operations in Wisconsin," said state Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point). "These major projects will help retain 350 family supporting jobs and create another 27 new jobs right here in our area. ND Paper's commitment is great news for Wisconsin's economic future."