Louisiana-Pacific to get $6 million press upgrade
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
The Louisiana-Pacific plant in Two Harbors will see $6 million worth of improvements in the coming month.
The project entails installing a new press, a machine that presses wood chips under extreme heat and pressure into sheets of siding, according to Plant Manager Steve Twining. Twining said the press will increase the plant’s capacity by about 25 percent.
“This is a huge investment in this facility. One of the (vice presidents) in Nashville said we have secured the future of this mill,” Twining said. LP is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
The plant will close for 28 days while the new press is installed by a crane. The old press, which has served the company for nearly 30 years, will be lifted out and the new one set in place through the roof. The crane being used for the task is so large that a smaller crane was needed to erect it.
Twining said that about 100 employees will stay on the payroll through the month, completing various maintenance projects, while 32 employees were temporarily laid off. Twining said a number of employees volunteered for the furlough.
As reported in the News-Chronicle in October, the project has received funding from several sources. The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board provided a $2 million loan for the project, and the remaining funds came from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Lake County and Louisiana Pacific.
“We support LP because they are a large contributor to our tax base...and they have a number of good quality jobs up there. For me, it’s a no brainer,” Lake County Commissioner Brad Jones said.
Twining said they expect the plant to resume normal operations on Feb. 27.