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Author Topic: Explosion at jay me mill  (Read 6172 times)

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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2020, 07:48:19 PM »
Verso sold the hydro dam in jay a few yrs ago. To please the investors maybe. Seemed like a poor move. With the Bucksport mill they sold it to the scarp co. The story was they offered a million more than a paper co. Was willing to pay. If it hadnít been torn down would it be running today? Maybe. There Luke mill they told management to do what there were told they didnít so it was shut down.seems like the price for the jay mill and Stevens point mill was 400 million

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2020, 07:51:15 PM »
Was that Eagle Creek? They come into the store almost daily to buy stuff.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2020, 09:33:41 PM »
Was that Eagle Creek? They come into the store almost daily to buy stuff.
In-fact,
They have Riley, Jay & Livermore under one Federal hydro license.
Otis is under its own Federal license.
They are also all Low Impact Hydro Institute certified which provides green power credit opportunities.
For years, paper plants have split off their hydro asset's,
D

Offline Southside

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2020, 10:28:22 PM »
Was it the digester or the recovery boiler that blew in Lincoln?  Can't remember but that was the final nail in the coffin there for sure. Hopefully not the same result this time.  
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2020, 09:11:12 AM »
It was recovery boiler at Lincoln. It put the final nail in the coffin on what was a very scary place to work. They had been putting patches on patches on patches for years. The state of Maine effectively looked the other way environmentally. Luckily no one was killed.

The pretty much universal political approach for those old struggling mills was for the current governor to do what they can to keep the place open until a new governor gets elected. Baldacci did it with GNP and LePage just gave up on it, same with Madison. Hopefully Madison will restart production making the wood based insulation board next spring but who knows as its risky bet with all sorts of creative financing. The company that was going to make cross laminated timber (CLT) at Lincoln is on hold currently as the mill has to be huge to compete and lots of other rural areas of the country want the same economic shot in the arm. The Millinockets are effectively screwed, there was a proposal for a CLT mill in Millinocket but the next to last owner of the mill saddled it with a big undischargable IRS lien so until that is cleared up its a big superfund site despite being ideally situated for a CLT mill with the currently not so Golden Road running right in the front gate. The East Millinocket mill has some of the bits and pieces but lacking a lot of stuff to make a pulp mill. Most estimates these days are about a billion to build a new pulp mill, optimistically the east mill might need 750 million.  Both mills also discharge into the west branch of the Penobscot and their permits are long since out of date. I expect the tribe downstream would raise a lot of hell if there as an attempt to put a big industrial discharge back in the river. I expect Matt Polstein would also crank up the rhetoric so he can continue his long pursuit of the tourist based economy in the region which has mostly benefited a couple business owners including himself.

One of the only reasons Old Town was restarted was that Old Town blew up their recovery about 20 to 25 years ago. They basically had to start from scratch so they have a fairly new recovery. I am unsure about the rest of the facility but the Lime Kiln was in miserable shape and even if it is replaced, its way too short with no room to expand so its an energy hog. I dont know if ND has figured a way around the Koch Brothers deed restriction on paper production at the facility. The pulp mill was always just too small to make sense as a market mill so an integrated mill making a niche product is its best use.  The claim in the press is they want to make pulp out of hemlock which may be a good niche, its not as strong as spruce/fir and loaded with sclereids but might be fine for cardboard boxes. ND claims they are going to put in a big cardboard recycling facility in Rumford, that is contrary to most thinking as generally cardboard recycling is done as close to population centers as possible. Bob Kraft of Patriot's fame owns several recycled cardboard plants and they are all right next door to large population centers. The actual recyclable fiber in a box is usually in the 50% range so ND is paying to haul 50% of the weight of truck with stuff they need to landfill. There is also crappy connections to major highways and population centers. A prior owner sold the hydros so they do not necessarily have cheap power anymore and recycling fiber requires lots of horsepower. East Millinocket tried this gambit and it never worked out. The building is still there but all the equipment is long gone. I think the Cascades recycling plant in Auburn is also long gone.    

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2020, 06:56:53 AM »
could you add to the koch brothers story?? never heard about that. sounds interesting

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2020, 12:54:34 PM »
Mind blowing amount of info.  Thank you so much mr peakbagger for the time and years that took to learn and share with us layman.  I much appreciate it.
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2020, 09:12:23 PM »
could you add to the koch brothers story?? never heard about that. sounds interesting
Georgia Pacific at one point had gone private purchased by the Koch Brothers. GP had bought Fort James a merger of the former James River and Fort Howard. Both were drowning in debt. One of the Koch's toured the new assets and dumped any operation that was non strategic or not making money, Old Town was both. GP didnt want the competition or see the tissue machines moved elsewhere so they paid to have them destroyed and removed by scrappers. Nothing could be sold except as scrap. A contractor I knew at the time was taking brand new equipment and permanently damaging it so it could not be used again. The claim is GP didnt want to clean up the pulp mill and had no use for it so they sold it to a specially set up state of Maine supported corporation, Red Shield, to run it as a pulp mil. The claim was the deed for the facility has a clause that no paper can be produced at the facility. I never cared to chase it down but some say its "forever" others say its for some limited duration (My guess is its limited duration).
Lynn Tilton stepped in next to try to run it and she connected up with U Maine and an independent researcher to pilot various processes to grab various valuable byproducts from the liquor prior to burning it in the recovery. The one that caught the presses eye was making Jet Fuel. Even she admitted quietly that to get the economies of scale required a much larger facility. She eventually gave up and one more clueless company came in and learned the same lesson that it was fundamentally a losing proposition. They were going to sell it to the same scrapper as Buckport but that got delayed. When they closed the pulp mill they didnt mothball it, they just sent every one home. It cost ND a bundle to get it running again and I expect that they still have some surprises from damage that occurred while it was down.
There was an attempt by one group to put in a combined heat and power plant to support the University but they lost out to another firm.    

Offline Maine logger88

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2020, 09:50:59 PM »
Thanks for all the info peakbagger I have always been interested in stuff like that the history of them! So old town was a tissue mill back in the GP and great works days? Iím glad ND bought it and hope they can make a go of it we need all the mills we can get at the moment. What about twin rivers I know the paper mill is on the US side of the river  and the pulp mill is on the New Brunswick side kind of a odd setup. I wonder if all there wood comes from Canada or if some comes from the us as well
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2020, 08:06:35 AM »
Old Town was always a tissue mill until GP closed them down. There was big push 30 plus years ago to "save the trees" by folks that did not realize that trees are crop. The response was minimum recycled content rules. That shifted the economics of papermills to putting them close to the place where the recycled fiber was produced to cut down on trucking costs. It killed a lot of the small virgin fiber mills out in the country. If a company was going to spend the big money on converting to recycling they just built a new mill closer to the city.

Twin Rivers is a sad story. It was part of Fraser and at one point had a lot of Crown leases on timberland  in Canada and outright ownership of a lot of land in far northern Maine. They got bought out by Brookfield out of Toronto.  Brookfield slowly stripped the assets of Fraser and sucked the money into the investors pockets. They stripped it clean including all the land in Maine which they sold to Irving along with the Crown leases in NB. The Madawaska mill was regarded as the Siberia of Fraser and no one from outside wanted to work there. Several employment headhunters made a lot of money placing folks up there in the spring and frequently the new employees were gone by the next spring. The mill was run by a brute called Bert Martin who had worked his way up the ranks and was threatened by any one with a degree. The result was he had a bunch of yes men surrounding him. When Brookfield bought GNP to strip the hydros off of it they handed the mills over to what was left of Fraser and Bert Martin had a new toy to play with. He promised Fraser he could restart the Millinocket mill for 50 million but it was a number he pulled out of his butt. When the numbers came up to 100 million he pivoted to renting a run down pulp mill in Port Cartier Quebec to supply pulp to the big papermachine in Millinocket. The problem was Port Cartier was on the wrong side of the Saint Laurence river and transportation was killing Katahdin. They also had the same problem that Jay will have, they didnt have the pulpers in place to repulp all the pulp coming in from elsewhere. I saw the creativity they was used at Katahdin paper and it was not pretty and definitely not efficient.

The only reason Twin Rivers exists is that the New Brunswick government needs the jobs and Irving who bought the Maine lands and the Crown lands needs a place to get rid of low grade wood. The province subsidizes the pulp mill as needed to keep it open and that keeps the papermachines running on the Maine side of the river.

That gambit didnt work so Bert hooked up with a buddy of his who was scrap merchant and started tearing down the Millinocket mill to pay the bills. It was rumored that Bert got a commission. Fraser finally got rid of him but he and his cronies popped up again at Red Shield. One of his lieutenants ended up a consultant for various state governors.

Its pretty sad what happened to the industry in the region. In the 1960s and even into the eighties places like GNP, Rumford, Woodland and Champion had more orders than they could handle. I was in group one night which included a former GNP management guy. He talked about the good old days when the buyers from the New York newspapers would come up to sign the contract for a years worth of paper. The company would bring up some high class entertainment ("escorts") to entertain the buyers and after a couple days of drinking at the company lodge they would agree on a price increase and the mill would have an order for the next year. The clean water act killed a lot of the mills as the money normally spent on upgrades went into major environmental work. The companies started to realize they could build brand new mills down south for far less and not worry about unions so they slowly started dumping the northern mills when they could.   

Offline Southside

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2020, 08:53:24 AM »
Have not been to Madtown in probably 20 years, sad to hear about that.  Why do I suspect that "talent" didn't make the journey from "La Casa"?  :D
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Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2020, 10:24:54 AM »
Speaking of La Casa, there was an article a few years ago about someone who bought the place somewhat site unseen. He claimed that when he opened the door that the place was like the prior owner just walked away the night before. The bar was stocked, kegs were hooked up, dishes were in the sink. No doubt I expect the escorts for buyer negotiations were imported into the area compared to the local "ladies". 

I had a chance to stay in the GNP company house in Millinocket once during a last gasp effort at saving the East Mill one more time. Off to the side of the main house was an addition with a big meeting room. The walls and windows were all trimmed out in birdseye maple and wood paneling. It definitely had a sixties "Mad Men" vibe. I think it finally got sold to pay some bills. I only got to go in the big office building at the mill entrance once and it was via a backdoor. I was up at the East mill for three days and worked all weekend to pull together a report, Monday morning rolls around and the boss calls and tells me to stop all work. Wednesday morning the East Mill went bankrupt for the last time. I roamed that place for three days with it totally empty, kind of scary in spots. I am surprised it has not been used for a set of Steven King movie. 

Offline woodroe

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2020, 01:14:42 PM »
Not related to the explosion but 1/2 dozen years ago, maybe more I happened to be 
working at the jay mill for a contractor when a disgruntled ex-employee walked into the mill managers office
armed with a loaded shotgun and revolver. A hostage situation ensued and the whole mill went into lockdown , no one could come in or leave for about 15 hrs or so. 700 people held hostage by 1 man .They did bring in some pizza for everyone about 7 PM. 
Police swat teams could be seen riding around in the back of pick ups. The guy finally surrendered late in the evening.

Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2020, 02:08:35 PM »
My prediction and I cant revival  my source 
Top secret.  They will truck pulp from a few hunered miles west of here. And maybe some will come from not to far away. We will see what happens

Offline Southside

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2020, 02:25:07 PM »
I am surprised it has not been used for a set of Steven King movie.


The old wool mill in Harmony was used for one of the scenes in Pet Semetary 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2020, 11:29:15 PM »
My prediction is 9dragons ends up with it and eventually closes it down for good.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2020, 06:20:48 AM »
My prediction is 9dragons ends up with it and eventually closes it down for good.
not likely 

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2020, 09:26:07 AM »
Market pulp is available, its just how much a mill pays for it and what sort of margin they make on the product they make with it. In a tight pulp market where pulp prices are high, the integrated mill with its own pulp supply is "king" they can sell the final product for less than what a non integrated mill can. We saw that in Berlin in 1987, pulp prices were historically high and we actually could sell the pulp for more profit than we made off the paper made in the adjacent Gorham mill (which was attached to the pulp mill via 10,000 foot pipelines). The overall facility made 130 million in one year which was a good chunk of change in that era. Those record high pulp prices led to all sorts of new pulping capacity going on line. The Canadian government decided that market pulp mills in remote areas were a good employment boost so they financed several major market pulp expansions and allowed the papermaking unions to invest their pension money. James River was looking at spending just shy of a billion in Berlin. The future for pulp was so bright the industry had to wear shades. Unfortunately way more capacity came on line in North American with a lot more from South America and the pulp market crashed in about 3 years and never really came back.  Several of the Canadian market mills crashed or were seriously weakened as they couldn't pay the debt.

In times of low pulp prices the non integrated mills have the best deal, they can pick and choose their pulp suppliers and buy from a company that is just desperate to keep the lights on.

Jay does have access to a deepwater port via rail to bring in pulp. I don't know if they have the local storage and repulping capacity. The goal is to automate the process and handle the bales to the minimum extent possible. Usually that means a large on site warehouse with a large bale conveyor line. Bales are pulled from the rail cars, stored and then loaded on a bale line that has a lot of storage capacity (its just a long conveyor system) The bale line conveys the bales to a pulper, strips the wires holding the bale together and feeds the pulper at a steady rate. The pulper adds water recycled from the process and agitates the pulp until it breaks down into fiber and then the slurry is pumped to a thickener and then pumped via a specialized thick stock pump to high density storage. They have washers that can be used as thickeners, thick stock pumps and high density storage so they just need pulpers. Unless they find a stash of used pulpers in a closed down mill, figure 12 to 18 months to get new ones running. Same with the bale line. GNP used a bunch of the on machine pulpers on old papermachines that were shut down (they had a whole line of them). It was not very efficient but it got them running. Jay also in pinch could buy brown pulp if anyone is making it and bleach it on site.

This all costs money and time and a level of patience from Pixelle's private equity owners. Sure they can haul in pulp from the recently acquired Stevens Point WI mill but its going to cost them a bundle to ship. Most predictions are the Canadian dollar is going to stay low due to the collapse of the oil industry so the logical supplier is Northern Pulp Nova Scotia (owned by a large Indonesian company) that is currently idled that would love to supply cut rate pulp with a low Canadian dollar. They could load it on a ship, bring it down to Portland or Searsport and then rail it up Jay.        

Offline gspren

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2020, 10:40:15 AM »
I've been following along and thinking about our local paper mill, Spring Grove, PA and thinking of the difference in smell when I go past now compared to 40 years ago, quite a change. I've hunted near Lake Molunkus, ME a few times and was even forced into a few trips to La Casa, long ago.
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Explosion at jay me mill
« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2020, 11:51:00 AM »
The first truck load will arrive in a few days


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