Surface & Panel Q4 2017 - Page 26

Grayling’s the Spot ARAUCO North America fills critical needs with massive Midwest panel production plant BY SCOTT W. ANGUS ARAUCO NORTH AMERICA'S $400 MILLION PARTICLEBOARD AND MDF MILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN GRAYLING, MICHIGAN, WILL COVER 750,000 SQUARE FEET AND PRODUCE 465 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF PANELS ANNUALLY. PRODUCTION WILL BEGIN IN LATE 2018. 26 T he leaders at ARAUCO North America knew they had a critical need for a panel manu- facturing plant in the Midwest. As it turned out, the Midwest needed ARAUCO, as well. The result? ARAUCO is constructing a $400 million, 750,000-square-foot mill in the north-cen- tral Michigan city of Grayling. Construction began in April 2017, and the plant will begin producing particleboard and thermally fused laminate in late 2018. It will be one of the largest board plants in the world. The pursuit of a Midwest plant actually started about 10 years ago when brothers Kelly and Kevin Shotbolt were still helping run their family-owned Flakeboard Co., based in Ontario, Canada. It continued after ARAUCO, based in Chile, bought Flakeboard in 2012. “The Midwest region and eastern Canada is by far and away the largest consuming market for composite panels, and it was devoid of a world- class facility,” said Kevin Shotbolt, vice presi- dent of sales and marketing for ARAUCO North America. “There is very little board production in