LITTLE ROCK — Vancouver, Canada-based forestry and sawmill company Conifex Timber said Monday it will spend about $80 million to modernize and restart the former Georgia Pacific sawmill complex in El Dorado and will create about 120 full-time jobs at the facility.
“This project provides Conifex with access to lumber and timber markets in the U.S. South,” Conifex CEO Ken Shields said in a statement. “Our commitment of $80 million to this facility will ensure the long-term sustainability of this site and contribute to our overall company growth.”
Conifex expects to produce 180 million board feet per year initially. It expects to buy 700,000 tons of timber per year, or $30 million worth, from suppliers within a 60-mile radius.
Georgia Pacific closed the plant in 2008.
“Timber plays a vital role in our state’s economic vitality,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “The industry directly employs more than 37,200 workers in Arkansas, and I’m thrilled to welcome Conifex to the state. This will have a significant economic impact on many families throughout south Arkansas.”
Incentives the state is providing to Conifex for the project include a $1 million initial community development block grant; a second $1 million grant after 10 months if job creation targets are reached; a cash rebate equal to 4.5 percent of total payroll associated with new jobs for six years, capped at $1.5 million; and sales tax refunds on building materials and taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project.