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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson, left, and Hongxin Li, chairman and founder of Sun Paper, sign a memorandum of understanding after the announcement that the firm will create a $1 billion mill in Arkansas. ( John Moritz)

China-based Sun Paper has chosen Arkansas as the site of its first bio-products mill in North America, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday.

The $1 billion investment for a plant in Arkadelphia is expected to create 250 new jobs, Hutchinson’s office said in a news release.

“This is among the largest private investments in the state’s history and the impact will be felt for generations,” Arkansas’ Republican governor said.

In addition to the 250 jobs at the mill, officials with the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County estimated the development would spur 1,000 new jobs in the south Arkansas timber industry.

As incentive to attract Sun Paper over competing proposals in Arkansas and Mississippi, the county will invest $10 million in economic incentives funded by a sales tax passed by voters in 2014, according to Eric Hughes, who serves on the board of directors for the county economic development corporation.

Sun Paper will also get a 65 percent abatement on its property taxes, worth $92 million, Hughes said, bringing total local incentives to $102 million.

Mike Preston, the director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission did not disclose how much the state will invest in the project at Tuesday's news conference.

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates and read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Photo by John Moritz
Mike Preston, director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, speaks while Gov. Asa Hutchinson and representatives from Sun Paper look on Tuesday.

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Archived Comments

  • Packman
    April 26, 2016 at 3:01 p.m.

    Add PopMom and emax to the list of permanent residents of liberal la la land. SMH. SMMFH.

  • NRC
    April 26, 2016 at 3:14 p.m.

    Clear cut Arkansas for disposable chop sticks.

    April 26, 2016 at 3:42 p.m.

    This is known as 'prostituting' our forest lands! We will no longer be known as The Natural State! This is horrible news!

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    April 26, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    No worry here, the EPA, will come in and crush them.

  • outinthesticks
    April 26, 2016 at 4:15 p.m.

    Pop, I thought angry people try to change what is making them angry. I don't read about that much effort in China to correct the problem. And they gotta have paper to wipe all those billion plus hineys over there.
    In case none of you have noticed, southern Arkansas is nothing more than a giant tree farm. Not a forest, a tree farm, there is a big difference. Diversity went out the window a long time ago. Clear-cutting is the so-called "sustainable" practice, NRC. Plant, thin, clear-cut, plant again, just like a field crop. Arkansas ceased being the "Natural State" before we adopted the slogan. But hey, that smell....they will get used to it, smells like money. No wonder so many are leaving Pine Bluff. On days when the wind is right, I can smell it from 50+ miles away. I hope the residents of Arkadelphia know what they're getting into. I usually support job creation, but this is one we already have enough of, here in the "Paper Mill State".

  • ARmojo
    April 26, 2016 at 5:06 p.m.

    You can bet the Chinese are not building this to benifit arkansans 250 jobs is not that many for the price the state an especially the Arkadelphia area will pay for this mill not to mention how many arkansans or even Americans will actually fill those jobs plus they are not going to pay their share of the taxes guess who gets to make up the difference it all sounds good in the big political announcements but give it ten years an see how it looks in the rearview mirror

  • mrcharles
    April 26, 2016 at 5:40 p.m.

    outinthesticks you might need to clarify sea bass about which spectrum you are in due to your less than 100% joy of the chinese papermill. I have many friends of really right and really left that are not for the hog farms by the buffalo or this mill, so I think sea bass not always supporting jobs jobs jobs makes you a commie.

    They have poisoned their land and now they come over here to screw us over. If you go to china you will probably get sick due to the chemicals and crap in the water and air. If you have respiratory problems, heck you may croak.

    sea bass you may go now.

  • HM2
    April 26, 2016 at 7:42 p.m.

    I just imagine you'll be able to smell that paper mill for one hundred miles in any direction. the people will love it.

  • Happy1234
    April 26, 2016 at 9:37 p.m.

    I am starting to be a little concerned about how America's resources are being offered up.

    We are starting to ship oil and natural gas offshore.

    The Saudis are into growing crops in California using scarce California water and then shipping the harvest to Saudi Arabia.

    The Chinese are mining Uranium big time on federally owned land royalty free in South Dakota and shipping it to China.

    There are many many more examples of our resources falling into the hands of foreigners.

    To see a tree harvesting operation here in Ouachita Mts as large as what the Chinese are about to embark on gives me another level of concern.
    The local incentives as the article states total $109 million.
    The state incentives total as not been discosed.
    It maybe true that 250 people will be employed but what about the other mills in the area that may shut down because they cannot compete with a billion dollar mill.
    Georgia Pacific is already in Arkedelphia and now Sun Paper,I wonder how much stress the Ouachita National Forest can withstand before it becomes unrecognizable.
    Paper mills use a lot of water. I wonder what they are going to do with the waste water.

  • BrianOman
    April 27, 2016 at 2:18 p.m.

    Maybe this will do as much good for Hot Springs as the one in Pine Bluff has done for them?