Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 12:03
BY STEVEN FRIEDERICH
The Daily World
Cosmo Specialty Fibers, the company that is reopening the pulp mill in Cosmopolis, says it will be open for business with product rolling out by May 1.
"We'll be hiring earlier because there's recruiting and training to be done," said company spokesman Robert Buchan.
But Buchan said the company is still a few weeks out before launching its website, which will contain the materials necessary for interested job seekers to apply.
In September, Weyerhaeuser sold the mothballed pulp mill to Cosmo Specialty Pulp and its ownership group made up of Los Angeles private equity firm the Gores Group and Dermot Smurfit, a paper and packaging industry businessman.
Cosmo Specialty Pulp CEO Michael Entz met with his board last week to discuss the timeline and the board felt a six-month window gave enough time to get the plant up and running, Buchan said.
"The investor group was happy with what they saw," Buchan said. "May 1 is a good date but we're going to try really hard to be open even earlier. The earlier the better for everybody."
Entz will meet with the Grays Harbor Economic Development Council to talk about the mill's business plan on Wednesday.
Buchan said the company has not found any surprises in looking over the half-century old equipment or any of the updates Weyerhaeuser installed in later years, either.
"Everything must still be tested and big digesters and generators have to be looked into to make sure they can take chemicals," Buchan added.
Buchan said that the company has been meeting with interested suppliers. Some subcontractors have even been stopping by to pitch their services. And the company is already receiving a lot of resumés.
"It's a bit too early for all of that for us," Buchan said. "You'll know when we're hiring because we're going to make it really clear."
The big goal is to set up a wood supplier that can handle the chips necessary for the mill to produce pulp.
Buchan said the company has some local leads.
"People tell us there's a fair supply of wood out there that might have been cut in the last two years but haven't been, simply because of the market," Buchan said. "We might be able to use some of that."
The mill is also looking to build its customer base. Buchan said the mill owners and consultants, including entrepreneur Richard Bassett, will be on hand at London Pulp Week, an industry gathering point.
"We'll be there to have the mill renew acquaintances with product buyers," he said.
Steven Friederich, a Daily World writer, can be reached at (360) 537-3927 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org