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New ownership will not reopen Sartell paper mill

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The Montreal-based scrap metal and recycling company that agreed to buy a shuttered mill in Sartell, Minn., from Verso Paper Corp. will not reopen the plant, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

"We're not going to run the paper mill. It's gone. There's no market for that," Herbert Black, president and CEO of American Iron & Metal Co., told MPR. "But there's buildings there that will be recycled, meaning reused. We'll be looking to make a development there."

Black plans to visit the central Minnesota site next month to get a better idea of future development.

“I’m not surprised and not really bothered by it, either,” Walker Brown, president of the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce, told the St. Cloud Times. “There’s a lot of legality in an acquisition this size, and the companies involved no doubt have to dot a lot of I’s and cross a lot of T’s. Frankly, I don’t think the public needs to know about those details. We’re just in the cheering section right now, waiting on pins and needles like everyone.”

AIM Development paid an undisclosed amount for the plant, which was severely damaged after an explosion and fire last May that killed one worker and injured four others.

In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Verso Paper nearly $40,000 for two serious violations that led to the deadly Memorial Day blast.

The company decided in August that it would not reopen the mill, which left about 260 workers without a job.

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