January 25, 2013

Sappi's Skowhegan mill touts global competitiveness

Rare tour Thursday gives glimpse into the workings of the seventh-largest coated paper mill in the world

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Sappi papermakers Alan Kenney, left, and Tom Staples walk past the huge No. 3 at the Skowhegan mill on Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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Sappi Fine paper worker Jeff Lancaster works on a huge roll of coated paper that will be cut into smaller rolls at the Skowhegan mill on Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Additional Photos Below

The building that houses each paper machine is 60 feet tall, made of steel girders, with room for heavy cranes to lift the giant rolls.

Sappi -- originally short for South African Pulp & Paper Industries -- purchased the S.D. Warren Co. from Scott Paper Co. in 1994. It is a publicly traded company with about 15,000 employees worldwide.

The company pays the town of Skowhegan about $9.76 million in real estate and property taxes annually.

"A sustainable corporation is one that not only returns a profit for the shareholders, but takes care of the people and the planet," Pelletier said. "We have three pillars -- people, planet and prosperity. All of those things are good for business, too. It's just the right thing to do."

She said the company recycles the water it uses at the mill, taps waste from the pulping process and burns it to help run the mill. The mill also cleanly burns old tires as a fuel to save on oil usage.

Since the $40 million retrofit of the pulp mill was completed in 2010, the company has reduced its use of oil from 900,000 barrels a year to 200,000 a year.

The No. 3 paper machine, which was installed in 1991, had a $13 million upgrade, which was completed in October.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367

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Additional Photos

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Sappi Fine Paper Plant Manager Tony Ouellette and Marketing Director Heather Pelletier discuss the Skowhegan mill from a control room inside the mill Thursday.

Staff photo by David Leaming


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