Hunt Forest Products announced the company will build a new $115 million lumber mill in Urania, a LaSalle Parish community.
The sawmill project will create 110 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $46,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will also result in another 307 new indirect jobs, for a total of over 400 new jobs in Central Louisiana.
“This project is a great economic boost to the center of the state, in the heart of our historic timber industry,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “and it will help create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs across the forestry, industrial services and retail sectors in Urania and LaSalle Parish." Governor Edwards went on to thank Hunt Forest Products for the confidence the company leaders are showing in Louisiana and the state's workforce through this investment.
“We are excited to be bringing a high-tech sawmill – and the skilled jobs it will provide – to Central Louisiana, and to provide a local outlet for the massive inventory of southern yellow pine that exists in this region,” said company co-owner James D. Hunt, who also is vice chairman of the Hunt Forest Products board of directors. He says this will boost the local economy, bring a new generation of sawmill technology to Louisiana, and provide a much-needed outlet for Central Louisiana timber.
Based in Ruston, Louisiana, Hunt Forest Products will prioritize buying timber locally. The Urania sawmill will require up to 850,000 tons of wood per year, with plans to produce approximately 200 million board feet of lumber annually. Hunt already operates a LaSalle Parish lumber mill in nearby Olla, along with a Grant Parish plywood plant in Pollock.
Construction of the mill will begin in April, with operations to start in early 2019.