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Maine paper mill damaged by 2020 blast to close for good

A massive explosion at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, Maine, Wednesday April 15, 2020 ripped apart the plant owned by Pixelle Specialty Paper Solutions.Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal/Associated Press

JAY, Maine — A paper mill that was site of an explosion in 2020 is going to close in the new year, leaving 230 workers without jobs, the company said Tuesday.

The Pixelle Specialty Solutions mill lost its ability to produce pulp but continued to operate a pair of paper machines after the explosion. The mill will close in the first quarter of 2023.

“Economic forces beyond our control have combined to make profitable operations at the mill unsustainable,” Timothy Hess, president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Pixelle, said in a statement.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden called it “devastating news” for workers, their families and the community.


The explosion in April 2020 shook the ground and sent debris and a slurry of chemicals raining down on nearby cars and buildings.

No one was injured. But in the aftermath, the paper machines had to use pulp purchased from other mills, compounding the financial pressure on the mill, the company said.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said the state has offered its support but was told there was nothing to prevent the closure.

The mill was built in the mid-1960s in Jay, which today is a community of about 5,000 people.