MILLINOCKET, Maine - Charlotte, North Carolina-based LignaTerra Global will build a $30 million, 300,000-square-foot cross-laminated timber (CLT) production plant in Maine. Over 100 jobs will be created.
The plant will generate 10 million board feet of the timber the first year, 2019, and 50 million feet by the fifth, if production goes as projected, says the company. By the time the mill is ready, LignaTerra expects the market will have moved more toward CLT, and the company will be prepared.
The 100 jobs will come gradually over the next five years, says the company. Machine and forklift operators, engineers, and salespeople will be sought.
Production of the plant will breathe new life into a region once known to be world-class in papermaking, but devastated by the 2008 recession. The plant will be built on a 35-acre portion of the former Great Northern Paper Company site that closed in 2008, but which made the town hum for a century. Since the mill closed, the town's population has declined, the median age has risen to 48, and its median income has decreased to under $30,000 a year.
The factory will use low-grade softwoods - largely spruce - to make the composite. Spruce is a good fit for Maine, as many of the state’s defunct paper mills used those trees for pulp, said Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council.
Production will begin in 12 months.
Advocates of CLT say it can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has also fueled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world's growing population.
Due to its benefits for carbon capture and reduced CO2 emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. Proposals for new projects include a 500,000-sq-ft skyscraper in New Jersey, a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver. An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion.
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