The Old Town pulp mill reopened Tuesday, four years after it shuttered.
Randy Chichoine, vice president of Maine operations for the mill’s new owner, ND Paper, says previous mill owners were private equity firms that focused on short-term profits, but ND Paper — a subsidiary of Chinese company Nine Dragons — has a long-term commitment.
“It’s a 100-year outlook. And the investments that we’re making are to benefit the community, are to benefit the employees, are ultimately, to benefit the business,” he says.
Some of the newly hired workers are former employees, including Thomas Higgins, who says he worked for several different owners in the four decades he has been at the mill.
“They’ve all told us roughly the same story, ‘We’re here for the long haul.’ But I really feel that we are here for the long haul this time,” he says.
More than 1,000 people applied for 130 job openings at the mill, which will produce unbleached softwood pulp for paper. ND Paper also operates a mill in Rumford.