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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

  • LContreras
    April 27, 2016 at 8:55 p.m.

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

    Gov. Hutchinson is not looking at the total picture ... the impact will be felt for generations and is not good for Arkansans!

    1. What is the environmental impact of deforestation, soil erosion, and loss of clean air and clean water, clearcutting 3 million tons of trees per year, 400 logging truck deliveries per day, and sewer stench miles away?

    2. How many acres of the Ouachita National Forest will be lost?

    3. What is the cost of public health and quality of life, for anyone living near or downstream the fluff mill?

    4. What is the economic impact of investing over $100 million of public funds, lower property values and millions of tourist revenue losses?

    5. With the two new pellet mills using up to 4 million tons of trees per year ... what is the impact of clearcutting 7 million tons of trees to feed these 3 new mills?

    Forests are keeping us alive with clean air, clean water, rich carbon soil storage and the only protection for severe floods like we had last year ... looking at the green $$$ in the forests is missing the other half: irreplaceable forest soil

    Carbon offsets can be used to pay private forest owners and keep AECC 3,000 megawatts of coal power ...