Major investment in Aboyne sawmill

The Jones sawmill site at Aboyne
The Jones sawmill site at Aboyne

A £5million investment has been announced in a Deeside sawmill.

James Jones & Sons will carry out a major upgrade of its plant at Aboyne.

The improvement plan includes enhancements to the sawline, control systems, material handling and resaw facilities.

The mill, which opened in 1962 and was rebuilt in 1991, produces a mixed range of sawn timber specifications including carcassing, fencing and palletwood, with the bulk of output serving the Scottish market.

Ian Pirie, joint managing director of James Jones & Sons, said: “Aboyne has been a great asset for James Jones and this significant investment is testament to our confidence in the market and belief in the team running the mill.

“Once these improvements are complete, towards the back end of 2018, total capacity will increase by around 30%.”

The investment had been weclomed by local politicians.

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett said: “This is fantastic news and it is great to see a well-established employer investing in facilities to help grow the business even further.

“Forestry is an important sector, not just for the local economy, but for the wider Scottish economy.

“After recent changes to the Forestry Bill passed at Holyrood, it is important that the Scottish Government gets back to addressing failing planting targets.”

He added: “Capital investment is always welcome, but we must also be investing in people. That means encouraging more people to learn the skills required by our rural industries. That is another area where the Scottish Government can do more to help.”

The company has evolved through five generations of the Jones family and has operated in different sectors beyond sawmilling and timber engineering, including shipbuilding (Jones Buckie), a foundry business (Jones & Campbell), an engineering division, telegraph and transmission poles and nail manufacturing.

Whether supplying the keel and other timbers in 1901 to Captain Scott’s exploration vessel, Discovery, or commissioning state-of-the-art sawmills, James Jones & Sons Ltd has been regarded as a forerunner for the timber industry in innovation and research.

The saw lines of today bear little resemblance to the mills of the past, but the company continues to focus on quality and service.