Pixelle Specialty Solutions Will Not Rebuild Damaged Pulp Mill in Jay, Maine
Pixelle's Androscoggin mill in Jay, Maine, will continue to operate two paper machines using pulp sourced from other mills, including Maine-based facilities. The mill's third paper machine, which produced commodity grades prior to the digester rupture, will be idled permanently, and the pulp mill will not be rebuilt.
Dec. 22, 2020 - Pixelle Specialty Solutions [on Dec. 9] announced its long-term strategic plan to continue manufacturing specialty papers at its paper mill in Jay, Maine.
The announcement follows the April 2020 pulp digester rupture at the mill that halted manufacturing for eight days and initiated months of recovery and strategic planning to ensure the mill would operate successfully and competitively.
Going forward, the mill will continue to operate two paper machines using pulp sourced from other mills, including Maine-based facilities. The mill's third paper machine, which produced commodity grades prior to the digester rupture, will be idled permanently, and the pulp mill will not be rebuilt. In its ongoing configuration, the mill will continue to utilize more than 250 full-time employees.
The mill's specialty papers product portfolio includes bleached and natural kraft products for food packaging, pressure-sensitive release liners and labels, packaging tapes, insulation backing for building materials, and wet-strength and grease-resistant products.
Commenting on the announcement, Pixelle Chief Executive Officer Timothy Hess said, "This long-term plan keeps a large number of employees working to meet our customers' needs for excellent products and services. It also benefits many in Maine impacted by the pulp digester incident by sourcing pulp from Maine-based providers."
Hess continued, "The Pixelle mill in Jay, Maine is a vital part of our four-mill specialty paper manufacturing platform. We intend to continue to invest in the mill to enhance its position as a supplier of choice to our customers."
Mill Manager Eric Hanson added, "The best path forward for the Jay mill is to continue to operate our two specialty machines using purchased pulp. The mill's employees — former and current — have been extraordinary. In 2020, they encountered the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the pulp digester rupture. Despite these challenges, they restored the mill, operated it safely and in an environmentally responsible manner, provided exceptional product quality and service to our customers, and transformed the mill into one that will be competitive for the long term."
In addition to its long-term plan, Pixelle announced that it has established a $1 million fund to support job retraining for former mill employees displaced as a result of the pulp digester rupture. Pixelle will also develop an ongoing program to further support former employee job retraining, while at the same time continuing its current program to assist with tuition expenses for the company's active employees.
Hess stated, "We are committed to providing support to our dedicated employees who lost their jobs as a result of the digester rupture, and we hope that the training assistance we are announcing today will prove valuable in relaunching their careers."
Pixelle Specialty Solutions is one of the largest specialty paper producers in North America. Pixelle has industry-leading positions in food contact papers, high speed inkjet papers, release liners, carbonless and forms, envelope paper, greeting cards, trade book paper, and playing cards. For further information, visit: www.pixelle.com.
SOURCE: Pixelle Specialty Solutions
Go to a related story on PaperAge.com:
», Digester Explosion Rocks Pixelle Specialty Solutions' Androscoggin Mill in Jay, Maine - April 16, 2020.