Georgia Pacific Crossett on Tuesday announced the decision to permanently close its bleached board operations at the Crossett mill as well as older tissue machines "that don't support the long-term competitiveness of the tissue business," a news release from the company said.
The older tissue machines will close in July while the bleached board closure will not go into effect until October.
This will impact approximately 530 jobs, including 25 sales and business office jobs. The remaining workforce will include roughly 500 positions in the consumer tissue and towel business.
Company officials said they will have discussions with union officials in the next month about employees affected by the closures. Those discussions will include the potential to transfer to other GP locations.
The Naheola and Brewton, Ala., mills and the St. Marys, Ga., extrusion facility will take over production of the company's bleached board product.
“Our Crossett employees have worked hard to safely and productively manage our operations there, and in recent years we have invested significantly in our operations. However, we have decided that the required investments needed for the bleached board machines, pulp mill and woodyard to sustain the operation long-term are not economically viable,” said Monty Brown, senior vice president – Consumer Products Group Operations.
The company "will continue to operate and invest in the Crossett mill to support its consumer tissue and towel business," the release said. "The Crossett facility has premium product tissue and towel machines and associated converting equipment, so it remains a key contributor to the success of the Consumer Products Group’s retail business. The company will retain approximately 500 employees to manage those operations."
The extrusion plant, wood yard, pulp mill and a "significant portion" of the energy complex, however, will be affected by the closures.
“We understand the impact this decision has on our employees, families and the community, and we will work cooperatively with the state and the community to minimize that impact,” Brown said.