Columbia Pulp mill opening moved to May
When fully operational, the pulp mill near Lyons Ferry is expected to employ about 100 people.
STARBUCK — The opening of the Columbia Pulp mill is now “looking like mid- to the end of May,” said John Begley, chief executive officer.
Developers of $184 million straw-pulp mill had expected to be in operation by the end of this month. But while all major equipment has been installed, making sure the wiring and piping are up to specifications is taking time, Begley said.
Located on 45-acre site near Lyons Ferry, the facility will convert wheat and seed alfalfa straw from a 75-mile radius into pulp to be used as consumer and molded-fiber products.
It is expected to provide about 100 skilled jobs, and hiring is continuing, Begley said Tuesday. Openings are still being announced on the company’s online and social media sites. The milling process is already taking place in Pomeroy at the Columbia Pulp Pilot Plant.
When fully operational, the larger mill near Starbuck will produce 410 short air-dried tons of wet lap pulp daily.
The straw is cooked to make the wet lap pulp, which leads to a combination of water fiber product and liquid product.
The process for conversion was developed by scientists William McKean and Mark Lewis.