Phoenix Paper LLC, Wickliffe, Kentucky, has announced plans to invest $200 million to build a paper recycling facility on the grounds of a Wickliffe paper mill it purchased for $16 million about one year ago.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced the company’s investment Friday, Aug. 9, during a conference call with west Kentucky leaders at Wickliffe City Hall. The company took over the site of the former Verso paper mill in Wickliffe last year, Phoenix Paper reports in a news release announcing the investment. The mill’s former owner, Verso Corp., idled the facility in late 2015 and closed the operation in July 2016.
Phoenix Paper reopened the mill this year and announced the completion of its first roll of paper at the Wickliffe mill in May. That facility currently employs more than 200 people and has an annual capacity of 300,000 tons.
“This new recycling facility will bring a tremendous amount of additional economic activity to the west Kentucky region for decades to come,” Bevin says. “The project will further support Phoenix Paper’s commitment to create 500 good-paying jobs in Ballard County. The company’s ongoing investment in the Wickliffe region is truly proving transformative, and it further demonstrates how Kentucky leads the way as a destination for international investment in engineering and manufacturing.”
Company leaders say they plan to use the existing Wickliffe site to build a paper-and-pulp recycling facility. The new recycling facility will have an annual capacity of about 700,000 tons of postconsumer cardboard and mixed paper that it will receive from various regional locations, according to a news release from Bevin’s office.
Following the cleaning and screening of the raw material, the stock will be formed and dried into industrial pulp and finished paper.
Current design and equipment specifications are being finalized with construction to begin before the end of the year. The project is expected to be completed within 14 to 18 months.
Bevin adds that there will be 150 employees at the new facility. Phoenix Paper is owned by Chinese manufacturer Shanying International, and the new facility will process recycled paper and send it to China to be used for packaging.