EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Present and retired Great Northern Paper Co. workers and their families are invited to help celebrate the new GNP’s first year of operations, company officials said Tuesday.
Festivities at the Main Street paper mill are due to start at 10 a.m. Thursday and continue until about 2 p.m. Residents are invited to attend.
Gov. Paul LePage is among several state and local leaders who have been invited to attend the rededication ceremony of the No. 5 and No. 6 paper machines.
LePage culminated weeks of hard and largely secret work by his staff and local leaders and announced on Sept. 17, 2011, that Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth, N.H., had purchased the Main Street and Millinocket paper mills on undisclosed terms.
The deal was made final on Sept. 28 and the East Millinocket mill restarted on Oct. 17, 2011, with 215 workers, though its initial restart stopped a day or two later and was postponed by about a week due to mechanical problems.
Today employing about 272 workers, the mill has a confirmed 38- to 42-day order backlog for No. 6 and customer commitments to buy paper every 30 days or so for the rest of the year. The No. 5 machine runs three days a week, officials have said. The Millinocket mill, which has been shut down since September 2008, remains shuttered and company officials are not optimistic about its restart possibilities.
The mill is on-track to produce about 160,000 tons of newsprint with its No. 5 and 6 machines in 2012, company officials have said.