Fourstones paper mill to reopen

A HISTORIC paper mill in Fife is to be restored with the creation of 95 jobs in the next five years.

Northumberland-based papermaker Fourstones Paper Mill Co is to reopen Fettykil Mill in Leslie after being handed a 800,000 Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) award from Scottish Enterprise.

The mill, which had been in operation for 146 years, closed four years ago after owner Smith Anderson fell into the hands of receivers, citing escalating energy costs and growing responsibilities in meeting the costs of a final salary pension scheme.

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Fourstones, which plans to use on-site water turbines to generate electricity, acquired the site and two existing paper machines earlier this year and is overhauling machinery at the plant with plans to restore production later this summer.

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson said: "This RSA award will bring a traditional industry back to Fife, creating new jobs and giving an economic boost to the local area."

A total of 106 workers lost their jobs when Smith Anderson & Co collapsed in 2006. The company's packaging arm, Smith Anderson Packaging, continued to trade.

Peter Duxbury, managing director of Fourstones, added: "Fourstones has a long, rich heritage of papermaking in the north of England and we are proud to be able to reintroduce this industry to Fife.

"We have been working on these plans for over a year with support from the Scottish Enterprise, Fife Council, and the administrator of the site, KPMG, and are delighted that our plans to bring papermaking back to Fife are now under way."

Fourstones is to use locally sourced waste paper as a raw material to manufacture recycled paper products for the tissue and packaging markets.