New ownership will not reopen Sartell paper mill


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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Verso won't reopen Sartell paper mill

Verso Paper has decided against reopening the Sartell mill that was damaged by an explosion and fire on Memorial Day. 259 people had worked at the plant. A company executive says it was a difficult decision, but the mill had not been competitive in recent years. Verso says it will work with local officials on finding a new use for the site.

Sartell tries to envision life after the paper mill

The owners changed over the years, but Sartell's paper mill has provided hundreds of jobs for more than a century. Those days are gone following Verso Paper's decision not to reopen the fire-damaged plant. Now Gov. Dayton will put together a task force to look at how to reuse the 37 acre site on the Mississippi River. Verso says it will share its list of potential buyers.

Verso pays Sartell for paper mill fire expenses

Verso Paper Corp. on Monday paid the city of Sartell in full – about $398,000 – for its response to a Memorial Day fire that ultimately led to the permanent closing of the company's paper plant, the St. Cloud Times reports. There were 92 agencies from across the state that helped fight the blaze and 68 of those sought repayment.