Regions Hampton Roads

International Paper repurposes part of its mill, creating 200 jobs

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International Paper plans to open part of its closed paper mill in Isle of Wight County to manufacture fluff pulp, creating 213 jobs.

“IP is currently the third largest global supplier of fluff pulp and this investment gives us greater participation in a growing market,” Mark Sutton, International Paper senior vice president of printing and communications papers the Americas, said in a statement.

Fluff pulp is the raw material used in absorbent materials of personal products, such as baby diapers and feminie hygiene products.

Sutton said the facility will be 89 percent energy self-sufficient by using renewable biomass resources at the Franklin Mill site. “The capability of producing energy from renewable biomass resources makes the remaining portions of the Franklin Mill site an ideal location for other partners looking for on-site green energy options,” Sutton said.

Terry McAuliffe, a former gubernatorial candidate for the Democratic nomination, is looking at the site for a wood pellet manufacturing plant. Franklin Pellets LLC, which is conducting the study, is a joint venture of CMI LP and Texas-based MultiFuels LP.

International Paper will spend $83 million to repurpose the facility to manufacture fluff pulp. The Franklin mill closed in 2010, causing more than 1,000 workers to lose their jobs.

“This project is a great sign of the Commonwealth’s ongoing economic rebound. It will help offset the economic ripple effect caused by the company’s 2009 announcement and it is further evidence that Virginia is wide open for business,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

McDonnell approved a $350,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help Isle of Wight with the project.


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