Weyerhaeuser planning $96.2M lumber mill modernization project

Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest private owners of timberland, including 1.39 million acres in Louisiana, last week announced it is investing $96.2 million to modernize and decarbonize its Winn Parish lumber mill, located southeast of Shreveport.

The company says the upgraded technology is designed to increase overall safety, productivity and product reliability.

According to Louisiana Economic Development, the project won’t create new jobs but the investment will allow the company to retain 157 direct jobs and maintain an associated annual payroll of more than $13 million.

The project includes the installation of three Continuous Dry Kilns, a new low-carbon process drying system. The kilns will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste and maintenance costs while increasing the lumber mill’s capacity, according to Weyerhaeuser. The facility will also add a new trimmer, sorter and stacker to improve mill efficiencies and help reach production targets.

Weyerhaeuser has eight locations in Louisiana, including timberland operational bases in Hammond, Ruston and Winnfield; lumber mills in Dodson and Holden; and a plywood and veneer mill in Zwolle that, along with its oriented strand board mill in Arcadia, supplies its Natchitoches Microllam manufacturing facility.

The company plans to install the first two dry kilns by the end of 2024. The additional new equipment is expected to be installed by the end of the second quarter in 2025.

To secure the project, the state of Louisiana offered Weyerhaeuser an incentives package that includes a $500,000 performance-based forgivable loan from the Economic Development Award Program for infrastructure improvements and equipment. The company is also expected to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. See the announcement.