VALDOSTA — The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority and Packaging Corporation of America have announced improvements to PCA’s Valdosta paper mill, an investment that is expected to be approximately $225 million.

The project includes a new recovery boiler, which will replace three boilers built in 1953, as well as a turbine generator and paper machine drying efficiency improvements. The new equipment is deemed pollution-controlled and a large percentage of it produces self-sustained, green energy.

During the specialized construction phase of the project, approximately 300 construction workers will be hired, with a payroll of $75 to $100 million, said PCA Valdosta Mill Manager David Carmon. This will generate an ancillary benefit of approximately $370,000 to the community, he said.

Industrial Authority Executive Director Brad Lofton said that this project is one of the largest investments in Lowndes County.

Incentives awarded by the Industrial Authority for this project include a turning lane on the road where the mill is located, two acres of paving and $250,000 in cash.

“This large project is evidence of the authority’s refocus on our existing industry,” said Industrial Authority Chairman Gary Minchew. “We are protecting a plant that has been here for decades and we’re protecting more than 300 really well paying jobs. This is a big announcement for the authority, PCA and our entire community.”

Lowndes County Commission Chair Ashley Paulk added, “This mill has been an important part of our community and a substantial contributor to our tax digest for a half a century. We (the Board of Commissioners) are proud to partner with the Authority and PCA to ensure their health and productivity for the next 50 years.”

Carmon commended the Authority for helping the Valdosta mill secure the $225 million investment. The Valdosta mill actually won the investment over a mill in Counce, Tenn., which was awarded an $80 million investment for boiler improvements.

PCA is the fifth largest producer of containerboard and corrugated packaging products in the U.S.

PCA operates four paper mills and 68 corrugated product plants in 26 states in the country.

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