ND Paper, the Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited, has announced it will invest $300 million over the next two years into its mills in Wisconsin and Maine. Those mills, in Rumford, Maine and Biron, Wisconsin, were purchased from Canada-based Catalyst Paper in June 2018.
The company says its strategic review of the new mills led it to “a multi-faceted investment strategy that diversifies the United States mills’ product mix, increases their overall production capacity, and fundamentally improves their viability for generations to come.”
The Rumford location will see an anticipated $111 million invested to finance two projects, including the construction of a greenfield recycled-content pulp facility. The pulp line will add approximately 1,200 air-dried metric tons per day of manufacturing capacity to the site, according to ND Paper.
Also installed in Maine will be a shoe press on a paper machine there, designed to increase the machine’s production capacity by approximately 20 percent.
“I want to thank ND Paper for its continued investment in Maine,” says Gov. 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. The investment also is likely to help retain jobs for the Rumford mill’s 650 current employees.
In Wisconsin, the Biron Division will commission several projects at a cost of $189 million. Those projects include the conversion of a paper machine to containerboard products and the construction of a two-line greenfield recycled-content pulp facility. The pulp lines will add approximately 1,900 air-dried metric tons of capacity to the site.
Also being funded is the construction of a water treatment and fiber recovery plant, a package boiler to provide energy, storage facilities for raw materials and a finished goods warehouse.
“I want to commend ND Paper for making the decision to expand their operations in Wisconsin,” says State Senator Patrick Testin of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. “These major projects will help retain 350 family supporting jobs and create another 27 new jobs right here in our area.”
ND Paper says it is working in collaboration with both the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Maine Department of Economic Development on the two projects.
“We invest for the long-term,” states Ken Liu, ND Paper’s CEO. “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.”
Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited describes itself as the world’s largest recovered paper-based paper manufacturing company in the world. In addition to its U.S. mills, Nine Dragons has 39 packaging paperboard and printing and writing paper machines operating in China and Vietnam.