PaperAge Magazine

Duluth Could Seek $1M Forgivable Loan for Verso Paper Mill Upgrade in Minnesota

Verso - Duluth paper mill

Jan. 19, 2018 (Duluth News Tribune) - The Duluth City Council will be asked this Monday to take a step that could keep the city's papermaking industry alive and protect 240 full-time jobs.

Councilors will take up a resolution that would authorize city staff to seek a $1 million forgivable loan from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help the Verso Duluth Paper Mill upgrade its plant.

Verso Corp. is considering a potential plan to invest a total of about $21 million in its Duluth plant, converting a recycle mill so it can process packaging-grade scrap paper into a type of pulp that can be used to manufacture brown paper grocery bags, corrugated cardboard and other products. This product would be an addition to the supercalendared paper Verso will continue to produce in Duluth.

Mill Manager John Bastian noted that the average price for the paper products currently manufactured in Duluth has declined by 30 percent in the past four years.

In a letter to Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, Bastian said: "These price declines have resulted in the Duluth Verso mill becoming unprofitable. In the last 15 years, 50 percent of all mills in the United States have closed — four of them in just the last two years. Without a conversion to allow the mill to make new profitable paper grades, the mill will be a likely candidate for permanent closure."

If the City Council authorizes the loan application and it is approved, . . .

Go to the full story at: Duluth News Tribune

SOURCE: Duluth News Tribune

PaperAge editor's note: Currently, the Duluth Mill (Minnesota, USA) has the capacity to produce about 270,000 tons per year of supercalendered (SC) paper used for magazines, catalogs and retail inserts. The Duluth recycle pulp mill produces recycled pulp from recovered paper and makes Superior HQ pulp used in printing and writing papers and Mechanical Pulp Replacement (MPR) used in supercalendered and lightweight coated papers.