Androscoggin Mill in Maine To Close; 230 Employees Affected
The owner of the Androscoggin Mill in Jay announced Tuesday that the mill would close in 2023.
According to Businesswire.com, Pixelle Specialty Solutions LLC (“Pixelle”), has announced the mill located in Jay, will close in the first quarter of 2023. The mill has endured significant business and financial challenges that were compounded by the April 2020 rupture of one of its pulp digesters and catastrophic damage impacting the continued operability of the entire pulp mill. The mill employs approximately 230 people who will be affected by the closure."
Representatives of the pulp and paper industry, along with Maine's top lawmakers responded to the news.
Governor Mills released a statement today saying she is worried about what a closure of this magnitude will mean for the employees and the surrounding communities.
"I am deeply disappointed, but, more importantly, I am deeply concerned for the livelihoods and wellbeing of those who work at the mill. I was glad to hear that Pixelle will offer all employees health care benefits and severance pay following the end of their employment in 2023, but I am also directing Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to send a Rapid Response Team to help support the mill workers and provide all available resources to them and their families."
Senators Susan Collins and Angus King along with Congressman Golden echoed the Governor's sentiments in a joint statement regarding the matter.
"The announcement of the Androscoggin Mill’s closure is devastating news for the dedicated employees and their families as well as for the Town of Jay and the surrounding communities. They have worked so hard for so long to keep the mill running despite enormous obstacles and strong headwinds, making the news of the closure even more disheartening. Our offices stand ready to connect affected workers with resources that can help provide employment training and job search assistance.”
Members of Maine's logging community said the decision will also affect Maine's lumber market and the forestry industry at large.
Executive Director Dana Doran of the Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine trade association said:
"We are deeply concerned for those, including many friends and family members of our own members, whose livelihoods will be affected by this announcement. Before the loss of its pulp digester to an explosion in April 2020, the Jay mill represented about 23 percent of the pulp market for the state of Maine and was critical to Maine logging and trucking firms and their ability to properly manage forest health. The decision last year not to rebuild that digester was a huge blow to the industry and the forests, and while very little of the pulp consumed by the mill today comes from Maine, we remain hopeful that a future owner may see the potential it has and create new opportunities for Maine wood fiber.”
It is not known if the owners of the Jay Mill plan to sell it or simply shut down the operation.