‘Things change’: N. Charleston mayor addresses paper mill closing

WestRock announced they will be ceasing operations here at the paper mill effective Aug. 31.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 6:20 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The longtime paper mill along the banks of Cooper River in North Charleston will be shutting down in just over three months, with the company citing high maintenance costs as part of the reason for ceasing operations.

WestRock announced they will be ceasing operations here at the paper mill effective Aug. 31, which North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said, has been here for around 80 years. The mill currently employs around 500 people, according to the company.

Summey said the city wasn’t overly surprised about the closure because, he said, the company shut one of their machines down in addition to the number of times it has changed owners in the past few years.

The mayor said the city is willing to help people who won’t be able to transfer within the company find another place to work locally.

A WestRock spokesperson said eligible and hourly employees can choose to apply to other positions within the company. They also said they will help people find other job opportunities, such as providing resume classes and interview training.

Summey recalled back when the Navy Yard closed and says the community endured through that. He said they will also endure this closing as well.

“Things change, and as they change, we have to work to make sure these changes are dealt with, and we use that change if anything to make it a better place than it was even when they left,” Summey said. “It’s an opportunity for the community. It’s an opportunity for the local governments, especially the county, and the city to come together. We see it as a challenge .”

A WestRock spokesperson said once the mill is shut down in 120 days, they will dismantle the site and prepare it to go up for sale.