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Highly Anticipated LP Siding Plant Delayed In Minnesota

Residents and officials eager for a new siding plant to open in northeast Minnesota are going to have to wait a bit longer. Louisiana-Pacific — which last year announced the purchase of a former mill in Cook, Minn., to expand its thriving engineered wood siding business — now says it will first convert a mill the company operates in British Columbia to make siding.

In a conference call with analysts, LP’s chief operating officer Brad Southern said it makes sense to develop the Canadian site first because of its proximity to the company’s West Coast customer base, and because the mill is already staffed and operating.

But that doesn’t mean a northern Minnesota plant is off the table. The Cook location and another site in Quebec “are likely options for future siding expansion,” said Southern. He added the company is “continuing our planning process for both locations with a focus on Cook.”

Still, the earliest the Cook mill would likely open is 2020, Southern told analysts. The company would first need to construct buildings and equip the entire mill. “The advantages of Cook, though, is it is a larger mill,” said Southern. “Cook gives us a lot of upside on volume. It’s a beautiful piece of land, a beautiful site to construct the mill and then expand it.”

State legislators and economic development officials on the Iron Range have had high hopes for the Louisiana-Pacific plant as something that could kickstart the region’s wood products industry.

From MPR News:

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