The modern pulp and paper mill utilizes wood residuals as the basic raw material.  Process operations are highly automated, and many mills now utilize computer control.  Overall economics in North America usually favor large-scale units with high operator productivity.  Consequently, the construction cost of a viable modern plant is extremely high.

For example, a 1,000 ton per day “Greenfield” bleached Kraft pulp mill is now estimated to cost in excess of $1 billion.  The high investment cost, typically exceeding $1 million per worker, qualifies pulp and paper as a capital-intensive industry.