Canadian lumber business Canfor Corp. plans to build a $160 million lumber mill in Beauregard Parish.
Canfor, a publicly traded business in British Columbia, already has lumber mills across the Southeast but this would be its first investment in Louisiana.
Canfor expects to hire 130 workers with average annual salary of $59,921 in addition to benefits.
The sawmill project would be built on a site certified by the Louisiana economic development department at the Beauregard Regional Airport, which sits near DeRidder, and is expected to support 175 construction jobs. It would be the first industrial project at the airport.
Plans for the lumber mill include processing yellow pine trees from Louisiana forests to create various wood products from lumber to paper and pulp. Operations are expected to begin by the end of third-quarter 2022.
The facility will have an annual production capacity of 250 million board feet, which is the measurement of trees into lumber. Canfor is already looking to spend another $200 million for a solid wood and pulp facility in Western Canada and $100 million for solid wood operations across the South in the United States.
The Louisiana project is the company's first "greenfield," or ground-up, construction lumber mill. The company said it was attracted to the area for its supply of pine forests and labor force with a long tenure in wood products manufacturing.
The state offered the company an incentive package that includes a $1.5 million grant that depends on performance such as payroll and capital expenditures. The business also is getting job training through LED's FastStart program and an Industrial Tax Exemption Program agreement, which could yield up to 80% property tax abatement for up to 10 years if approved by the sheriff, police jury and school board in the region.
The project would be the "largest initial investment in Beauregard Parish's history," said Mike Harper, president of the parish police jury. "This commitment promises a bright future for hundreds of families of this parish and region.”