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Verso paper mill repairs could take months

Verso paper mill repairs could take months Click to Enlarge Photo: Brad Veenstra

Jun 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KNSI) Memphis-based Verso Paper Corporation has released a two-page statement on the Memorial Day explosion and fire that caused heavy damage to its paper mill in Sartell.

Verso says it has completed a preliminary assessment of the damage, which includes "susbstantial damage to the mill's paper warehouse and important infrastructure including the electrical system."

The company says while a visual inspection of the mill's paper machine indicates that it was not damaged, the operability of the machine has not yet been confirmed.

Based on the preliminary assessment, Verso has concluded it will take several months to complete the necessary repairs to the mill. The statement says Verso will continue the damage assessment and will make a decision on the mill's future once the assessment is completed.

The company says more than five-thousand tons of finished paper and work-in-process inventory were destroyed in the explosion and fire.

Verso President and CEO Dave Paterson says their top priority is to "determine why this unfortunate event happened, and to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."

He says the company is fully cooperating with investigations being conducted by the Minnesota Fire Marshal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Verso's insurer.

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