BUCKSPORT, Maine — Verso Paper Corp. will close its mill here for two weeks due to the high cost of heating the facilities and low demand for paper at this time of year, according to the mill’s spokesperson Bill Cohen.
“This is a traditional time of year when we have less demand and this year that happens to be softer than it was last year so we’re going to take some down time,” Cohen said Friday.
In reference to the high cost of natural gas, Cohen said, “It’s the same problem we had last year but this year we are not going to take the losses we saw last winter.”
Cohen said none of the mill’s 562 employees will lose their jobs. Officials are working with employees at this time to figure out what will happen to employees during the time the mill is closed. Their options include taking unemployment benefits or scheduling their paid vacation days for that time.
The mill will begin to be shut down on Jan. 16 and will be completely shut down by Jan. 17. Machinery will start back up again on Feb. 3 and the mill will be in full production mode again by Feb. 4.
Verso’s biomass boiler and the associated electric generating equipment will continue to run, Cohen said. Several people will remain on duty to keep this part of the mill’s operation running.