Fraser Paper Incorporated with operations in Canada, Maine and Gorham, New Hampshire has announced its plans to restructure its operations including the sale of certain assets, including the last remaining paper mill in operation in Gorham, New Hampshire.
I’m going to guess that this isn’t going to end well for Gorham or the 240 workers at this mill.
Fraser Papers which acquired the mill through the bankruptcy of the previous owner, American Tissue has stated that is it trying to sell the mill in Gorham.
And who exactly would be interested in purchasing an old mill that has numerous strategic and operational issues surrounding it that will require millions of dollars to overcome? And this is before a discussion of the market for paper is even considered.
In other words, this is a hard if not impossible sell.
The last time I spoke with Executive Councilor Ray Burton I did bring up the future of the remaining mill in Gorham and I questioned what the future may bring and the role of state agencies like DRED to help this mill stay in operation. At the time I expressed frustration at the attitude and performance of DRED Commissioner George Bald. “For the one or two things he does badly, Commissioner Bald probably does 10-12 good things.” Burton said. I asked the longtime Executive Councilor to explain what these 10-12 things consisted of and if he has ever had any conversations with the Commissioner about the future of the mill in Gorham. Burton stated that the Commissioner does spend a great deal of time responding to data requests from legal groups like the Sierra Club and the Conservation Law Foundation and he stated that he has never had a conversation with the Commissioner of DRED about the paper mill in Gorham.
My take on this whole conversation: papermaking and 240 jobs in Coos County really isn’t that important.
I’m going to predict that Fraser will announce plans by June to close down these historic mills and put 240 workers onto the unemployment lines in Coos County.