Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Chinese company Sun Paper will build a $1 billion bio-products mill in southern Arkansas, creating 250 jobs. Hutchinson was joined by Sun Paper chairman and founder Hongxin Li in making the announcement Tuesday.
The mill will be Sun Paper's first facility in North America. Sun Paper employs more than 10,000 employees worldwide. Hutchinson says the plant is one of the largest private investments in the state's history.
It will be built in Arkadelphia, which is about 65 miles southwest of Little Rock. An Arkansas economic development official said earlier this month that Sun Paper was also considering Mississippi for the mill.
A statement from Gov. Hutchinson's office:
Today, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that Sun Paper will open a bio-refinery in Clark County. Hongxin Li, chairman and founder of Sun Paper, joined Governor Hutchinson for the announcement in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Arkansas State Capitol. Sun Paper will invest more than $1 billion in the bio-products mill and create 250 new jobs at an average salary of $52,000 a year.
This will be the company’s first facility in North America.
During Governor Asa Hutchinson’s trade mission to Asia in November, Governor Hutchinson and Chairman Li signed a letter of intent of investment cooperation in which Sun Paper committed to studying the feasibility of building the facility in South Arkansas.
“The fact Sun Paper is investing more than $1 billion in south Arkansas speaks volumes of their confidence in our workforce and pro-business environment,” said Governor Hutchinson. “This is among the largest private investments in the state’s history and the impact will be felt for generations. Thanks to Sun Paper for choosing Arkansas as the location for its first North American facility.”
With the company’s $1 billion investment, Sun Paper’s investment in Arkansas is comparable to Big River Steel’s investment in Mississippi County. At the time that project was announced, it was the largest investment ever in Arkansas.
Arkadelphia is located in the heart of Arkansas’ timber industry with easy access to Interstate 30. Forests cover about 18.8 million acres – about half of the state – mostly in South Arkansas.
Headquartered in China’s Shandong Province, Sun Paper ranks among the top 500 Chinese enterprises and one of the world’s top pulp and paper makers. The company employs approximately 10,000 people worldwide.