KapStone supplier plans to invest $32M Carolina Chips to open in 2017, employ 15 workers in Holly Hill

The KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. mill in North Charleston is getting a new wood-chip supplier in Carolina Chips, which said Tuesday it will invest $32 million in Holly Hill.

A company that will supply wood chips and processed bark to the KapStone paper mill in North Charleston is setting up operations in lower Orangeburg County, the state’s Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Carolina Chips Inc., a subsidiary of The Price Cos. Inc., will invest more than $32 million on a new chip mill and wood storage yard in Holly Hill. The facilities near the Dorchester County line are scheduled to open in the first half of 2017 and employ 15 workers.

“Last year, rural counties accounted for approximately 30 percent of the jobs recruited to the Palmetto State,” said Bobby Hitt, the state’s commerce secretary. “With today’s announcement ... rural South Carolina has achieved yet another big victory.”

Johnnie Wright Sr., chairman of Orangeburg County Council, said: “It’s always exciting when new companies confirm Orangeburg County as an excellent location to do business. We appreciate Carolina Chips for their investment, new job opportunities and for their confidence in our community.”

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded Orangeburg County a $100,000 grant to assist with the costs of road improvements associated with the Carolina Chips project.

Dick Carmical, president and CEO of The Price Cos., said the company is happy to be locating in Holly Hill “and excited to be developing a long-term relationship with a solid, progressive and customer-driven company like KapStone.”

The KapStone paper mill in North Charleston is among the largest and oldest manufacturers in the region, with an annual payroll of about $85 million. Based outside Chicago, KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. has about 980 employees in North Charleston and nearly 6,400 workers nationwide.

The company acquired the Cooper River mill and other businesses from the former MeadWestvaco Corp. in mid-2008.

The Price Cos. is based in Monticello, Ark., and operates 25 wood-processing operations across 11 states that provide a variety of services, including chipping, storage and trucking. The company has more than 50 years of forestry-related operations experience.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_