Sappi Fine Paper's pulp and paper mill in Cloquet, Minnesota, shut because of flooding in area, to stay down until this weekend

LOS ANGELES , June 21, 2012 () – Sappi Fine Paper North America’s pulp and paper mill in Cloquet, Minnesota, will remain shut until this weekend.

Yesterday the company shut the mill, which is on the banks of the St. Louis River, which was rapidly rising, “as a precautionary move to protect our assets,” the Superior Telegram in Superior, Wisconsin, reported on June 20. Heavy rains caused considerable flooding in the region, resulting in many cancellations and closures.

The newspaper reported yesterday that the company was expecting to resume its operations today.

But Sappi said in a statement today that flooding conditions have not yet abated and that it now expects to resume normal mill operations on June 23 or June 24.

It said that in order to ensure the safety of its employees, only skeleton crews are on site, focused on plant protection activities.

“We are currently assessing the impact on pulp and paper customers, but at this time do not expect significant disruptions,” the company said in the statement.

A company spokesperson did not specify to Industry Intelligence whether floodwaters had entered the mill. “At this time, we haven’t assessed any damage,” the spokesperson said today. “Everything has been on schedule and we anticipate resuming normal operations.”

The Superior Telegram also reported yesterday that the USG Corp. in Cloquet, which is also on the banks of the river, had shut down because of flooding. The facility, USG Interiors Inc., produces ceiling panels, according to the company website.

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