EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- People in the Katahdin region had a reason to celebrate on Thursday. It has been a full year since dozens of jobs were restored at the East Millinocket paper mill.
'Cate Street Capital,' which is based in New Hampshire, bought the mill in 2011 after it had been closed for several months. Since then it has gone on to hire hundreds of workers. 'Great Northern Paper' in East Millinocket now employs more than 250 people, which is slightly more than half of what the paper mill employed at the beginning of 2011.
Officials with Cate Street say that they are hoping to add to their workforce in the future. There are plans to convert the East Millinocket paper mill to natural gas by March of next year.
'Cate Street' is also continuing plans to start up another business at the site of the old Millinocket paper mill. The 'Thermogen' project entails using part of the closed mill to make energy rich pellets called 'torrefied wood.'
Company officials expect Thermogen to employ up to 36 workers, once it's running by the fall of 2013.
"We have big plans for over there and I think I would like to say to the people of Millinocket, just wait and see..its coming," said Richard Cyr, who is president of 'Great Northern Paper' and a manager with 'Cate Street Capital.'
A spokesman for the company says at this point it has obtained all of the necessary state permits for its torrefied wood operation. The company plans to start construction in a matter of months.