Starbuck, Washington, USA 14 March 2018 -- (From news reports) -- The Columbia Pulp mill project has obtained additional financing to help with startup of the northern Columbia County plant, which will turn waste straw into pulp for papermaking.
Columbia Pulp I LLC has received $20 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing from CEI Capital Management LLC, company officials announced today.
The New Markets Tax Credit Program provides incentives for community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities, according to the Department of Treasury website.
The money will be directed toward construction of part of the pulp plant producing a co-product to be sold for use in soil and dust abatement and industrial applications.
In a release, Michele McCarthy, Columbia Pulp chief financial officer, said developing the next-generation pulp mill "would not have been possible without the New Markets program filling a gap in our financing."
Construction of the 290,000-square-foot facility near Starbuck began last summer. The $184 million project is expected to create approximately 87 new, full-time jobs. In addition, construction of the plant will employ about 120 workers on the site.
John Begley, Columbia Pulp chief executive officer, said today that while "winter hasn't been as kind to us as we would have liked" the project remains on schedule to open this fall. He said the company has started hiring management staff and will probably begin hiring the bulk of the labor force this summer.
Financing for the project, a lack of which had prevented construction for years, was secured last summer when solid-waste bonds were offered by Goldman, Sachs & Co. of New York. Columbia Ventures Corporation of Vancouver, Wash., agreed to be the lead private investor, with $36 million in equity financing.
The mill was granted its building permit from the county in June 2016, and $134 million in tax-exempt municipal solid-waste bonds from the Washington Economic Development Finance Authority was authorized in 2015.
The plant is being built by Pacific Civil & Infrastructure of Federal Way, Wash. When in operation, it will convert tons of wheat and seed-alfalfa straw from surrounding farms into pulp for paper products using a proprietary process developed by Sustainable Fibers Technology.
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