A $115 million lumber mill is planned for construction in central Louisiana, expected to eventually create 110 onsite jobs.
Ruston-based Hunt Forest Products announced the plans Wednesday, saying it would build the facility in Urania in LaSalle Parish in a joint venture with Canadian forestry company Tolko Industries. The mill will operate under the name LaSalle Lumber Co. LLC
Construction is expected to start in April, with operations slated to begin in early 2019. The mill will employ 60 people and ramp up to 110 employees at full capacity in succeeding years.
Gov. John Bel Edwards hailed the project as a "great economic boost" in the heart of Louisiana's timber country.
Edwards' office says the Urania sawmill will produce about 200 million board feet of lumber a year.
Jobs at the mill will have an average annual salary of $46,000 plus benefits.
Tolko will own a 50 percent share of the facility, which will be managed and operated by Hunt. Tolko is a 60-year-old, family-owned Canadian forestry company that produces a wide range of forest products for customers around the world.
Hunt already operates a LaSalle Parish lumber mill in nearby Olla, along with a Grant Parish plywood plant in Pollock. Statewide, Hunt Forest Products employs 350 before the addition of the new Urania sawmill.
The state is providing an incentive package that includes a performance-based, forgivable loan of $1 million under the Economic Development Award Program, with those proceeds offsetting the costs to construct a rail spur for the mill. In addition, the company has access to the states FastStart workforce training program and is expected to use the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.
Urania Mayor Terri Corley said Hunt Forest Products is working with community officials to coordinate services for the new mill, and to identify and address potential infrastructure issues.