Mill plans on hold

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

International Paper as it appeared in 2006. The mill closed last year, and it may be June before plans for a new tenant are announced.

FRANKLIN—International Paper Co. does not plan to make a decision on the future of its shuttered Franklin mill until possibly the end of June.

The Memphis-based company, which has groups interested in using the mill for the production of wood pellets, lumber, fluff pulp, ethanol, biomass power generation and biodiesel, initially hoped to make an announcement during the fourth quarter of 2010. When that didn’t happen, IP planned on a first-quarter 2011 decision.

“These studies we have been engaging in are taking longer” than expected, Donna Wadsworth, manager of communications for IP’s mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., said Tuesday. “It’s a very complex facility. We’re looking at the compatibility of the proposals.”

IP in October 2009 announced it would close its mill, eliminating 1,100 jobs. The last paper machine was shut down on April 15. Employees were laid off over the next seven to eight months.

Wadsworth said IP has narrowed proposals down to “a handful.”

When asked if any of these groups was interested in buying or leasing the plant, she said that’s also being discussed.

“Those kinds of decisions are what the study is looking at,” Wadsworth said. “What’s the best approach for repurposing.”

There are no plans for paper or paperboard to be produced at the site.