Headed for completion in early 2019, ARAUCO’s Grayling particleboard operation will be the most modern particleboard plant in North America and the largest of its kind globally. Once completed, the plant will feature North America's largest single continuous particleboard press (170 ft.) and will be one of the most productive in the world.
The ARAUCO Particleboard Plant site is located off of West Four Mile Road, which features a business corridor of existing manufacturing operations. The ARAUCO plant property comprises 640 acres situated approximately five miles south of downtown Grayling. ARAUCO plants to utilize only 150 acres, or 25% of this acreage for the plant operations, which will be located on the far west side of the property (near the I-75 exit ramp) in order to optimize the logistics for transporting raw materials and finished panels.
The remaining 75% of the ARAUCO land will remain forested. Please note that out of concern for both public and ARAUCO employee safety, no hunting or trespassing will be allowed on our property.
By the end of 2018, the project had clocked more than 2.1 million construction hours, and 219 permanent employees were on staff.
Commissioning was underway for the suction systems, dry electrostatic precipitator, dryers, resin blender, and the press lines.
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The sustainable use of forest resources is important to Michigan, and ARAUCO looks forward to continuing that tradition. In addition to creating significant economic benefits, the company’s manufacture of composite panels will extend the effective and efficient consumption of regional forest resources by utilizing more of each tree, as well as wood by-products, like wood chips, from local manufacturers. In fact, the nearby location of local sawmills, along with the region’s abundant wood surplus, is among the reasons Arauco found Grayling attractive as the site for its new plant. It is estimated that once operating at full capacity, our plant will utilize only 30% of the surplus regional forest resources on an annual growth basis. At the same time, the forest will continue to grow.
ARAUCO understands that water quality plays an essential role in Michigan’s economy and is the very fabric of its lifestyle and culture. The community should be pleased to know that the particleboard manufacturing process is a dry one that does not require a large amount of water. In fact, our dryer technology is designed to remove the moisture out of the wood cells.
The ARAUCO plant use of water will be mainly for employee drinking water, restroom facilities and fire suppression. The limited amount of waste water treatment needed for operations will be supplied by the Grayling Charter Township.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) determined our property does not have young Jack Pine trees needed to support nesting habitat for the federal endangered bird, Kirkland Warbler. Therefore an assessment was not required by MDNR.
It’s important to note that Arauco will not manage logging operations directly. Instead, we will purchase wood and wood by-products from local sawmills and logging companies. The community can be assured that our wood procurement professionals will be supporting sound and sustainable forest management practices in working with our wood and wood fiber supplies.
The ARAUCO Grayling Particleboard Plant will be a state-of-the-art manufacturing operation that will produce world-class decorative wood panel products used in home interiors and furniture across North America. The plant will feature the latest technology that will meet or exceed all international, federal and state safety and environmental standards. Certifications will include ISO 14001 (Environmental), OHSAS 18001 (Safety), FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and ECC (Eco-Certified Composite) Certified Mill. In addition to the economic benefits the project will bring to the regional community, the Particleboard Plant will extend the effective and efficient use of forest resources by utilizing wood by-products, like wood chips, from local manufacturers.
ARAUCO is very excited about its new business venture and the significant economic stimulus it will bring to Northern Michigan. We are grateful for the outstanding and positive support we have received from both local and state of Michigan officials.
The township of Grayling offered multiple location advantages over other potential locations:
• Close proximity to abundant wood and raw material resources to supply a large-scale operation on a long-term sustainable basis: surplus forest resources, proximity to residual wood by-product suppliers (e.g., nearby sawmills) and a resin plant;
• Favorable rates for industrial energy supply;
• Proximity to the Arauco North America customer base to defray the costs of long distance freight of finished panels;
• Last, but not least, Grayling and its surrounding communities offer an ample supply of potential employees, as well as local community colleges to support training and educational programs.
It’s expected that the ARAUCO Particleboard Plant will create approximately 200 permanent jobs and approximately 700 construction jobs. It is also estimated that the plant will create 1-2 support jobs for every one permanent job. In all, this plant’s construction and ongoing operation could create close to 1,500 project-based and permanent jobs.
In addition to the additional dollar flow into the larger economy from new payroll taxes generated by both temporary construction and permanent plant jobs, local and regional business are already benefitting from the project. To date, Arauco has engaged more than a dozen local or Michigan-based businesses to support the plant’s design and site development. More retailers, suppliers and vendors will be engaged over the course of the next two years and beyond as the facility is constructed and begins full operation.