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Androscoggin Mill Restarts Papermaking, One Week After Explosion

Rebecca Conley
Maine Public
A digester at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, the day it exploded, Thursday, April 16.

The Androscoggin Mill in Jay has restarted two of its three paper machines, one week after an explosion destroyed the pulp side of its operations.

In a statement, Pixelle Specialty Solutions, which operates the mill, says pulp is now coming from mills in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other sources. The Bangor Daily News reports that Sappi and ND Paper in Skowhegan and Rumford are supplying some of that pulp.

The Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council, Patrick Strauch describes Pixelle's pulp disaster as "a big deal" that effects several sectors that sell the raw materials used to make the pulp.

"The pine sawmills in Maine, many of them were delivering to the Androscoggin Mill. So between the loggers and the pine mills, it has an immediate effect."

The company says it is running 24/7 and has the capacity to process the incoming pulp and meet normal demand.

The third machine, which does not make specialty finish paper, will remain idle for now.

Pixelle says it continues to investigate what caused a rupture, and resulting explosion, in its digester, which is used to make pulp. It's not clear what the company's long-term prospects are for its pulp operations in Jay.

The company declined to comment on how many employees remain on the job. It’s also not clear what the company’s long-term prospects are for its pulp operations in Jay.

Updated 3:53 p.m. April 23, 2020