Published Dec. 14, 2011
Sonoco announced Wednesday that it plans to upgrade its Darlington County plant, investing $100 million and expecting to generate up to 10 additional jobs.
The global producer of packaging products already employs more than 1,600 in Hartsville.
“It is the single largest capital investment that Sonoco has made to our Hartsville manufacturing operations and in South Carolina,” said Sonoco President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Sanders. “In addition to maintaining the viability of our operations and protecting hundreds of existing jobs, the project will create new growth opportunities and new jobs.”
Sonoco will invest about $75 million to add a new biomass boiler to its plant in Hartsville, replacing two aging coal-fired boilers. The new boiler will be fueled primarily by woody biomass created by regional logging activity, but can also run on natural gas. The boiler will produce about 16 megawatts of green energy that will be consumed by the manufacturing complex, as well as steam that is used in the paper making process. The company will also upgrade a machine that produces corrugated paperboard, as well as emission control technology on another boiler at the plant.
Groundbreaking is expected this month, with construction continuing until July 2013. The boiler is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.
Employment activity during construction will peak at around 200, with up to 10 new jobs added, including about 30 indirect jobs due to the amount of biomass material that has to be collected and delivered to Sonoco. Sonoco has asked its contractor, McBurney, to work with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and local employment agencies to hire as many qualified, local, skilled workers as possible.
“For more than a century Sonoco has played an important part in South Carolina’s manufacturing sector and we congratulate them on this new investment. Today’s announcement is another indication that ours continues to be a manufacturing state,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce.
“This new biomass boiler system is the culmination of Sonoco’s ongoing sustainability efforts,” added Robert Long, executive director of the Darlington County Economic Development Partnership.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved the company for a rural infrastructure grant of $100,000, which will be used to improve roads used by the trucks going to and from the facility.
In an effort to minimize interruptions to local traffic, Sonoco worked closely with the South Carolina Department of Transportation and Darlington County to identify the best route to get the trucks in and out of its facility.