The official groundbreaking for a new sawmill plant in DeRidder was held on Thursday at the facility’s future location at 4227 La. 190 West.
Canfor Southern Pine’s DeRidder site is projected to be a $160 million state-of-the-art sawmill complex, and will be Canfor’s 16th operation in the United States. It will also be its first greenfield project, and the company’s first investment into the state of Louisiana.
Canfor Southern Pines’s president, Tony Sheffield, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony and said the company is looking forward to becoming a community partner in the area.
He also said job recruitment is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks.
The sawmill plant is expected to open this winter and will create an estimated 516 direct and indirect jobs. The direct jobs, officials said last year, are expected to offer an annual salary of $59,921, plus benefits.
The construction of the site will also create an estimated 175 jobs.
Company officials said that the annual sales and use tax benefit could bring an estimated $400,000 to Beauregard Parish.
The creation of new employment opportunities is welcome news to the parish and city of DeRidder where officials have long worked to bring more job opportunities to the area.
“Today was a great day for Beauregard Parish,” DeRidder Mayor Misty Clanton posted to social media as she shared news of the event.
Canfor first announced last summer that it had selected Beauregard Parish for its new lumber mill. Based in British Columbia, Canada, Canfor is one of the world’s largest
producers of sustainable lumber, pulp, and paper.
Company officials said the sawmill will process southern yellow pine from local Louisiana forests. Officials also said they believe the Louisiana location will allow Canfor to strategically grow its market presence globally.
The state-of-the-art sawmill is located on an LED Certified Site at the Beauregard Parish airport, just outside DeRidder city limits, where parish and city officials strived to showcase the parish’s industrial qualities.
When Canfor announced its decision to locate its project in Police Juror Mike Harper said the investment represents the largest initial investment in Beauregard Parish’s history.
“The vast renewable resources of Beauregard Parish initially attracted interest in the area, but the people, communities and quality of life sealed this agreement. This commitment promises a bright future for hundreds of families of this parish and region,” Harper stated.