A division of the Canadian conglomerate J.D. Irving Ltd. plans to open a sawmill in Aroostook County that would cost $30 million to build and create 60 permanent full-time jobs, the company announced.

The Saint John, New Brunswick-based company’s Sawmills Division said construction of the state-of-the-art sawmill in Ashland will begin soon if the permitting process goes smoothly. The plant would be built in the shell of a sawmill that closed in 2008.

Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith said the process will require a permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, along with a public comment process.

The sawmill is expected to open in late spring, the company said Monday. Lumber produced by the softwood sawmill would be environmentally certified under the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative program.

Most of the lumber would be sold to major retail lumber yards along the eastern seaboard, the company said.

The log supply for the sawmill would come from the company’s Maine woodlands and other woodlot and timberland owners in the state, according to Irving.

The company said it has reached an agreement with the United Steelworkers union to certify the sawmill site.

J.D. Irving is a private, family-owned company that’s involved in a variety of industries, including forestry, paper products, agriculture, food processing, transportation and shipbuilding.

It has sister companies including Irving Oil, the Brunswick News newspaper chain and Irving Equipment, an industrial-equipment company.

Gov. Paul LePage lauded the sawmill project and the jobs it would create.

“This is the kind of news we like to see in the State of Maine: a good company expanding and creating quality jobs for Maine people,” LePage said in a written statement. “Maine is open for business, and we will continue our efforts to make Maine as competitive as possible for private investment and job growth.”

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson


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