AUGUSTA — Woodland Pulp will expand its pulp mill in Baileyville, an investment that will add 80 new jobs in one of Maine’s poorest counties, Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday.

The company will install two tissue machines at the plant, a capital investment of about $120 million, the governor announced at a morning news conference.

“It is bringing back what Maine was very, very strong in — the paper industry,” said LePage. “We’ve suffered from a lack of technology investment, and they’re bringing in some of the newest technology.”

The first tissue machine is expected to be operating in the fourth quarter of 2015 with the second expected to begin production in the first quarter of 2016.

Woodland Pulp officials planned to make an announcement from Baileyville offices later Wednesday.

The mill, located next to the St. Croix River on the Canadian border, currently employs about 320 people, making it the largest employer in a county known for its high rates of joblessness and poverty. It is also the largest taxpayer in Washington County.

The mill was acquired from Domtar by International Grand Investment Corp. for $64 million in 2010. IGC, a Delaware-registered corporation, is part of a Chinese-based holding company that represents international investors in pulp trade and imports. Built in 1906, the mill had been owned by a number of paper manufacturers before the 2010 sale.

IGC officials had been considering investing elsewhere in North America. The corporation purchased another hardwood pulp mill on the West Coast in 2010 before acquiring the Domtar plant.

Baileyville officials were actively competing for the new investment.

“We may not succeed, but it won’t be for lack of trying,” Baileyville Town Manager said at a joint meeting of the Baileyville Town Council and the Calais City Council in January.

The mill, which had been owned by Domtar since 2001, is 100 percent energy self-sufficient and has its own hydroelectric facility. It has an annual production capacity of 395,000 metric tons of pulp; IGC annually brokers more than 800,000 tons of pulp.

Declining paper markets forced the closure of the mill’s only paper machine in 2007, but pulp production continued at the facility. A six-week shutdown of the mill in 2009 was blamed on the global recession.


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