But on Tuesday, Gentry said a new
"It's a shot in the arm," said Gentry at the groundbreaking of the project Tuesday. "I see the company pivoting with the times to grow."
The expansion at
The expansion, to be completed in late 2015, will install a modern 220-foot-high pulp digester, or cooker, and other wood-chip processing equipment.
"It's a plant with a future," he said. "We'll have a better product and get into new paper grades."
"It's a transformation of the site," he told about 100 people at the factory that's marking 60 years of operation.
Founded as one of the South's first newsprint mills, the plant diversified extensively into advertisements, fliers and high-grade paper publications.
Today, it doesn't focus on newsprint but instead on a wide variety of other paper products.
For example, it makes the paper that's turned into the bags used in fast-food restaurants, said
"It will make us more flexible," Martin said about the expansion. "It's a very important day."
In 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy protection after declining newspaper circulation cut newsprint consumption. AbitibiBowater emerged from creditor protection in 2010 and changed its operating name to
"I think the future is very bright for manufacturing," he said, adding there can be tax reforms which spur more such jobs.
Garneau said the plant is "an economic engine" for the region and not just
Resolute estimates the mill affects 1,700 employees working for other companies, and that it has a
The mill, located on more than 1,700 acres bordering the
Specialty papers are made on two paper machines and the third line produces market pulp.
The new project is expected to produce efficiencies from better wood yield and lower steam and chemical usage. It also will increase the pulp machine's production output and maximize dryer utilization, according to Resolute.
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