Paper firm to start work on Va. mill
A Chinese paper company plans to hire an engineering company to begin work on its planned $2 billion paper mill in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
“In the next week or two we plan on awarding a contract for the engineering work and also getting started on the environmental permitting,” John Stacey, senior vice-president of marketing and product development at Tranlin Inc told China Daily. “We have hired a project manager for construction.”
In 2014, China’s Shandong Tranlin Paper Co Ltd said it would invest $2 billion over five years to build its first US manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County, which is about 20 miles from Richmond, the state capital. The plant is expected to generate 2,000 new jobs by 2020. It is the largest Chinese investment and job-creation project in Virginia.
The company broke ground on the plant’s 850-acre site along the James River in 2015. Jerry Peng, the chairman and CEO of Shandong Tranlin, is a 2003 graduate of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
“We are (still) looking at 2020 to be fully operational,” said Stacey. “Since the late ‘80s, this will be the first project that there has been a full pulping and milling (converting pulp into paper products) operation built in the US. This adds to the complexity of the project.”
Tranlin is scheduled to receive state aid for the project, including a $20 million grant from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). The newspaper Progress-Index of Petersburg, Virginia, reported earlier this month that the grant requires Tranlin to have invested at least $20 million and create 25 jobs by the end of 2015. The paper said Tranlin has deferred the withdrawal of $2 million available by July 1 until at least 2018.
“The Tranlin project is well within its performance period and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership is in regular dialogue with the company and continuing to monitor the project. We fully expect the company to meet its performance measures within the required timeline,” Sandi McNinch, the VEDP’s general counsel, said.
“We are waiting to complete certain milestones. At that point we will be able to have whatever grants we have earned at that time,” said Stacy. “We are hiring people now and we have an office on our Chesterfield site that has our civil engineering staff and the group that’s in charge of the project from a construction standpoint.”