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International Paper to Repair Boiler at Vicksburg Mill

May 22, 2008 - International Paper said that it plans to repair the recovery boiler at its Vicksburg, Miss., containerboard mill and to restart the mill once repairs are complete.

Repairs are estimated to take about six months, IP said.

The boiler has not been operational since an explosion occurred on May 3 as as it was being re-started after an annual maintenance shutdown. Marcus Christopher Broome, a 28-year-old contract worker, was killed and a number of others were injured in the explosion.

The mill is not currently operating and most employees are temporarily laid off. The mill is maintaining minimal staffing to handle essential work tasks while clean-up and repairs are underway, IP said.

"The decision to repair the boiler is a very positive long-term decision for the company, the employees and the local community," said Glenn Landau, vice president and general manager of International Paper's Containerboard business. "While we do expect challenges in meeting our customers' demand as a result of Vicksburg's outage, we will work diligently to minimize disruption during the repair period."

"While we are working towards the speedy repair of the mill, our thoughts remain with the family of Mr. Broome and those injured in the accident on May 3," Vicksburg Mill Manager Tom Macher said.

The cause of the May 3 explosion is still under investigation.

The Vicksburg mill employs approximately 307 people and annually produces approximately 550,000 tons of linerboard, a type of paperboard used in corrugated packaging. The mill began operation in 1967. The operation is a Star site member of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program and prior to the explosion had no serious injuries in more than a year.

SOURCE: International Paper




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