After decades in operation, some of the machines at the Georgia Pacific-Crossett facilities are falling silent, smokestacks are puffing no more, and those who operated the processes that fueled them are driving out the gates for the last times.
Though employees have been reluctant to speak publicly about the inner happenings at the plant as the company enters into a partial shut down in Crossett, one employee posted to social media Monday that they were calling “time of death” for some of the processes. By their call, the pulp mill went at 10 a.m., the board mill at 11:40 a.m. and the 10A Boiler at 12:22 p.m.
GP-Crossett Spokesperson Jennifer King said the shut downs that happened Monday were part of the previously announced shuttering of some Crossett operations.
“We are focused on a safe and orderly shutdown over the coming days,” King said.
“Over the next two weeks, approximately 275 employees will be departing the mill permanently.
“We expect our partial shutdown to be complete no later than Nov. 8.”
The shutdown follows a June announcement that the company would be eliminating its bleached board operations and more than 500 jobs.
The areas affected by the move included the bleached board machines, extrusion plant, woodyard, pulp mill and a significant portion of the energy complex.
Georgia-Pacific representatives said at the time of the announcement that the decision to close the Crossett bleached board plant was based on an assessment of the mill’s ability to compete effectively in the bleached board market.
Additionally, they announced they would shut down one of the mill’s older tissue machines.
Some of the employees reported on Monday that they will still stay on to work for a week or so to clean up, but that the machines are officially shut down.
Originally the site of the Crossett Lumber Company, Georgia-Pacific purchased the Crossett mill in 1962, and expanded its paper operations in Crossett in 1976. The company made additional upgrades to paper and pulp operations in 1984.
It opened the Crossett Chemical plant — which was sold to Ingevity last year — in 1981.
The company’s plywood mill was mothballed in 2011, permanently closed in 2016 and burned in an accidental fire in 2017.