Major investment coming to Maine paper mill

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WMTW) – Sappi announced record annual earnings Thursday.

As part of that announcement, it said it will invest about $418 million to convert the No. 2 paper machine at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan to manufacture packaging and specialty papers.

That means the machine will go from making coated wood-free graphic paper to solid bleached sulphate board.

Sappi said that demand for these products in North America is especially strong right now.

As part of the conversion, the machine capacity at the Somerset Mill will nearly double, from 240,000 tons per year to 470,000 tons.

The project is expected to be done in early 2025.

Gov. Janet Mills applauded the announcement Thursday, saying it will “support the lives and livelihoods of people in Skowhegan, the surrounding region, and the State of Maine.” She went on to say, “Diversifying the forest products we make right here in Maine will strengthen our forest products sector and sustain the good-paying jobs it creates.”

In September, Pixelle Specialty Solutions announced that it would be closing its paper mill in Jay in 2023.

The mill there produces specialty label and release papers, as well as industrial and packaging solutions for ecommerce and food service.

Around 230 people are employed at the mill and will be affected by its closure.

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