Resolute Forest Products to spend $12 million on improvements
by Mark Ledbetter
CHILDERSBURG — Having recently received a tax abatement from the city, Resolute Forest Products is moving forward with a capital investment of more than $12 million to replace current coal burning boilers with gas burners.

John Donahue in the Human Resources Department at Resolute said replacing the coal fire boilers with natural gas boilers will improve efficiency and reduce cost and will allow the mill to comply with new environmental regulations before 2015 requirements go into effect.

“The cost of bringing the existing coal burners in compliance was cost prohibitive,” Donahue said. “The cost of the new gas burner avoids the cost of modifying old, old boilers.”

Donahue said coal burning has been an ongoing environmental concern. “The new boilers will be clean, modern boilers,” he said.

Resolute purchases some power from Alabama Power Company, Donahue said, but generates much of its own power with the boilers and the boilers reduce outside energy requirements. With the plan approved, the scope of the project is being prepared for vendors by next spring and construction is scheduled to begin in late 2013.

Donahue said that in recent years Resolute has restructured and downsized. At one time it was one of the largest newsprint plants in the United States, if not the world, the company no longer produces newsprint at the Coosa plant and production machinery is not in operation.

“Customers throughout North America and in numerous overseas markets utilize high-quality Resolute pulp to make a range of consumer products, including tissue, paper towels, specialty products like filter paper, disposable diapers and feminine hygiene products, and printing and writing papers,” according to information provided by Resolute

With major markets in China and India, Donahue said Resolute was looking to expand its market in South America where freight costs are lower and the company wants to become more competitive in fluff pulp.

Plant manager Richard King told the Childersburg Kiwanis Club earlier this year that Resolute is now a 100 percent fluff pulp mill.

He said there is no real economic substitute for fluff in absorbent products. Fluff cannot be made out of hardwood, and he said characteristics of Southern pine fiber have the best liquid transport rate of any wood species.

Donahue said the Southeast is a major source of strong fiber necessary to produce the product and King described the area in which the Coosa plant is located as “a great fiber basket!”

During its Oct. 2 meeting, the council approved the tax abatement pursuant to the Tax Incentive Reform Act of 1992. The construction project reflects a $12,178,010 capital investment by Resolute and the abatement includes all state and local noneducational property taxes and all construction related taxes. The abatement period is 10 years.

The Coosa Pines plant is on Plant Road in Childersburg and is part of the Childersburg Industrial Park.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2012