STATE'S LARGEST PAPER MILL ANNOUNCES CLOSURE
COURTLAND, Ala., — Alabama’s largest paper mill will close by spring of 2014, negatively impacting the state’s largest industry — forestry. International Paper (IP) officials announced the company will close its Courtland Mill and layoff 1,100 workers in Lawrence County.
|Forestry and related industry sectors are the state’s largest industry with $11.2 billion in economic impact.|
“Effects from this closure will be felt across Alabama,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Forestry Division Director Rick Oates. “In addition to lost jobs for mill employees, the ripple effect could displace numerous workers in the logging industry and other businesses that support it. In the long-term, landowners who planted trees expecting to harvest pulpwood in 10 to 20 years will have to find alternative markets for their crop.”
IP executives said the decision to close was based on decreased demand for paper products. Officials said the layoffs will occur gradually over the next several months leading up to the final shutdown. IP will offer severance packages and assistance to employees.
Production will shift to other IP mills, including one in Riverdale, Ala., and three out of state.
According to the Alabama Economic Impact Study by Auburn University, the forestry industry and related sectors are the state’s largest industry with $11.2 billion in economic impact in Alabama.
The Courtland Mill was built in 1971 and produced 950,000 tons of paper annually for envelopes, forms, labels, copiers, printers and magazines.
IP is based in Memphis, Tenn. In Alabama, the company operates mills in Prattville and Pine Hill, in addition to its Riverdale mill. These mills will not be affected by the Courtland closure.