Local and state officials recently joined Georgia-Pacific Brewton mill employees and their families to celebrate the completion of a $388 million energy improvement project after two years of construction. The project modernized and streamlined the mix of equipment in the mill’s recovery boiler system and now provides the mill with the ability to generate its own energy using natural gas and biofuel residuals from the paper-making process.
On the heels of this completion, Brewton also kicked off another $50 million investment for upgrades to the mill’s paperboard machine. Slated to begin in late summer, this project will rebuild part of the machine and will improve the quality of the mill’s white-top linerboard product and increase the mill’s competitiveness.
“The investments in Brewton, and across Alabama, drive home our focus on continuously improving operations and meeting the needs of our customers, our company and communities for the long term,” said Christian Fischer, president and CEO, Georgia-Pacific. “I’m proud of the hard work and dedication from our 450 Brewton employees and I’m confident that the mill is positioned for continued success.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and other state and local officials were on hand to congratulate the mill team for the successful completion and startup of the energy project. Approximately 700 people including employees, family members and special guests were in attendance.
“Georgia Pacific’s total investment of $438 million to grow and expand its business is a testament to the continued opportunity for the success of economic investment in Alabama. Our state is a great place to live, work and to raise a family,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “I am committed to continuing to work with existing businesses, like Georgia-Pacific, and to attract new ones to invest here. It’s a new day in Alabama and we’re open for business.”
Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace, Sr., said, “We are very happy for the Brewton mill team and proud to have this mill as part of our community. This project and others at the mill demonstrate GP’s intent to remain a valued business partner of the region for years to come.”
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Georgia-Pacific’s $355 million acquisition of the Brewton mill from Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. In the last five years, Georgia-Pacific has invested approximately $8.5 billion into operations across the country, including Alabama, where approximately $1.2 billion in capital has been invested to grow existing operations, acquire new operations, and improve safety and environmental performance across all businesses.
Escambia County Commission Chairman Raymond Wiggins, added, “These projects will keep Georgia-Pacific competitive for generations to come, providing more opportunities for people to make a good living and raise their families here in Escambia County.
Teams at the Brewton mill produce white-top linerboard and solid bleached cartonboard. The mill is the largest employer in Brewton, with approximately 450 employees.
“Today is not just a celebration of this project, but also a day to acknowledge the hard work and commitment our employees made in making this a reality for the mill,” said Jeff Joyce, vice president and general manager, Brewton mill. “Today is about recognizing what we’ve achieved, celebrating those successes and turning our focus to our future and the other important projects planned for our long-term growth.”
In Alabama, Georgia-Pacific employs approximately 2,300 people directly, and those jobs create an additional 8,500 jobs indirectly. Total compensation and benefits for Georgia-Pacific Alabama employees is approximately $216 million directly, resulting in a broader economic impact of $644 million in combined wages and benefits.