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Sappi invests $19 million in Cloquet paper mill

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Sappi Fine Paper North America recently completed a $19 million investment in its coated papermaking operations at the Cloquet mill, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The coated paper investments are part of Sappi's $170 million project to convert the plant into one that refines wood into fiber that can be made into thread.

“I think Cloquet is very strong and very lucky to have (Sappi),” Mayor Bruce Ahlgren told the newspaper. “As long as they keep investing in the mill, the long-term forecast looks really good.”

“We remain very committed to the coated paper business,” Rick Dwyer, managing director of Sappi’s Cloquet mill, said in a news release. “Our investments in the production of high-end paper will allow Sappi to serve this market into the foreseeable future and enable more agility and efficiency within our papermaking process.”

However, the investment at the Cloquet plant comes just days after Boise Inc. announced plans to eliminate 265 workers from its International Falls mill by October and close two of its four paper machines.

Economic pressures have not been kind to the logging and paper industries in Minnesota -- forcing the closure of paper mills across the Midwest.

In February, Wausau Paper Corp. announced it would close its mill in Brainerd and put 130 employees out of work.

Verso Paper Corp. shuttered its facility in Sartell last summer after a deadly explosion and fire on Memorial Day.

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