The expansion will allow Evergreen to improve its existing processes, reduce waste and remain competitive in the world market.
The Pine Bluff mill is a fully integrated mill with wood receiving, pulping, bleaching, machine rooms, and finishing and shipping. The mill produces packaging board and coated publication paper.
"We believe this expansion, the result of working with both the state and local economic development officials, is a major step in keeping our products competitive in markets around the world," said Evergreen CEO Malcolm Bundey. "What we produce in Pine Bluff is used everywhere from China to South America."
Evergreen Packaging facilities have received numerous awards for environmental, safety and health performance. Known for its environmentally friendly practices, Evergreen Packaging's Pine Bluff facility has received certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative for Certified Fiber Sourcing and Chain-of-Custody. The mill has had a 68 percent reduction in direct carbon dioxide and a 31 percent reduction in total carbon dioxide since 1990.
"Expanding our existing businesses is always an important part of Arkansas's economic development," Governor Beebe said. "Evergreen has been one of Pine Bluff's top employers for more than 50 years, and I am grateful to see this additional commitment to Southeast Arkansas."
In addition to its environmentally friendly recognitions, the Pine Bluff mill has received awards for no lost time injuries in 2004 and 2005, and was the second-safest mill (more than 2,000,000 man-hours) for 2005 and 2006 in the United States.
"We're proud of our safety record, which is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people," said Craig Lichty, Evergreen's Manager of Arkansas Operations. "In addition, part of this expansion automates an area in a way that makes that part of the operation significantly safer. We're delighted about that."
"Evergreen's Pine Bluff mill has been a significant contributor to Jefferson County's economy for over 50 years, and we're elated about this modernization program that positions the company to continue as a world-class manufacturer for the future," said Jack McNulty, Vice Chair of the Board of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County. "The total reinvestment, in terms of dollars, is huge. It's also a tremendous affirmation of our community's assets for industry."
The company employs more than 1,000 people in the Pine Bluff area.
Source: Arkansas Economic Development