Workers with Missoula Composites say they've been told the company's Missoula mill will be closing in a few weeks, ending an operation that's been a stable part of the region's forest products industry.

Callers to our radio programs told us early this morning they were being informed the mill was shuttering, with subsequent information indicating that will happen before summer. The last day of operations will be May 22nd.

In a statement to Newstalk KGVO, the company says they recognize the "significant impact" the permanent closure will have.

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A Missoula wood products fixture for more than 50 years

Missoula Composites has operated on a 200-acre site on the west side of Missoula since 1969 and was purchased by Roseburg Forest Products in 2003. It's one of a handful of locations the Oregon-based company uses to produce high-quality particleboard and laminate panels which are used for a wide range of products, like countertops, shelving, door core, and panels that are used in cabinetry, furniture, books shelves, and "ready-to-assemble" systems.

Those products depend on Ponderosa pine wood "residuals", or materials that come from sawmills around the region, utilizing the mill's proximity to I-90 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad for shipping.

“Unfortunately, Missoula’s older platform and technology is simply not competitive from a cost structure perspective in a marketplace with many new, modern particleboard facilities.- Roseburg President and CEO Stuart Gray

Recent upgrades went to Oregon

10-years ago, Missoula Composites began upgrading its systems to become what was called a "modern legacy plant", adding new lines and robotic equipment to speed production.

Roseburg had previously closed another composite mill in 2021 in Dillard, Oregon saying at the time it was investing in other locations. That left the composite mills in Missoula, Simsboro, Louisiana and Taylorsville, Mississippi in operation.

However, the company recently announced a $700 million investment in a new plant in Dillard called Dillard MDF, which will "make both medium and high-density fiberboard" and Dillard Components, which will produce exterior trim.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley Warren

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