Timber Company to Invest $157M in Louisiana Mill
HOLDEN, La. – Seattle-based timber company Weyerhaeuser announced that it will invest $157 million over several years to upgrade equipment and modernize the sawmill at its facility in Holden, a town in Livingston Parish north of I-12 between Hammond and Baton Rouge.
During the project’s first phase, the company will spend nearly $19 million to upgrade the site’s lumber kiln-drying capacity. The second phase will cost $138 million and will “completely modernize” the facility, the company said in a statement.
Weyerhaeuser said the investments will secure 119 existing jobs and create up to four new ones at an average annual salary of $50,000. State economic development officials estimate the project will generate 225 construction jobs, with an estimated payroll of about $25 million.
“Sustainable forest products have long been an economic success story in Louisiana, where we plant more trees than we harvest,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in a release. “Weyerhaeuser has had an important role in Louisiana forestry, and these latest investments will extend that impact. By upgrading the Holden mill and adding the latest in industry technology to improve the facility’s competitiveness, the company will secure its skilled Florida Parishes workforce for years to come.”
Louisiana Economic Development said that Weyerhaeuser’s 984 in-state employees work in mill manufacturing sites and in forestry operations that manage 1.39 million acres of timberland. Weyerhaeuser operations in Louisiana include a plywood and veneer mill in Zwolle; an oriented strand board mill in Arcadia Parish, near Simsboro; lumber mills in Dodson and Holden; timberland offices and operations in Hammond, Ruston and Winnfield; a nursery and orchard in Taylor; and a Natchitoches mill that recently got an $16 million upgrade.
“This investment is a testament to each employee here at Holden,” said Brent Mitchell, Holden interim mill manager. “It reflects a personal commitment to the highest level of performance, both operational and safety-wise, that each employee has. After years of planning this project, we’re excited for the sustained benefits it will bring to our people, our operation and the community.”
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