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Boxboard: Fusion Paperboard cites recovered paper costs for shut as mill nears auction

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Boxboard: Fusion Paperboard cites recovered paper costs for shut as mill nears auction

October 10, 2014 - 11:35

OAKLAND, CA, Oct. 10, 2014 (PPI Pulp & Paper Week) -Fusion Paperboard is nearing auction at the end of the month while its 142 workers qualified for extended unemployment benefits in Connecticut following the permanent closure of its Sprague coated recycled board (CRB) mill last month.

In applying for the state's Trade Adjustment Assistance, used to help workers hurt by globalization, Fusion said the boxboard market in North America has been declining while raw materials -- recovered paper -- "has been purchased by brokers and manufacturers in Asia and is shipped there," according to aHartford Courantreport. "This has a direct impact on the cost of fiber/raw material."

The company also noted that Caraustar workers qualified for TAA when it closed its Sprague custom packaging plant in 2011, the year OpenGate Capital acquired the mill from Cascades. The nearby plant had been Fusion's biggest customer, theCourantreport added.

After ceasing production in mid-August, the mill officially closed Sept. 22 amidst local controversy over trying to sell it and a pending environmental cleanup. The shutdown and loss of jobs became a focus of the state's gubernatorial campaign, according to media reports.

The 146,000 tons/yr of capacity accounted for an estimated 6% of North American CRB capacity.

Koster Industries said it will conduct an on-site and live webcast auction for the mill contents on Oct. 30. Items to be auctioned include the complete 600 tons/day paper machine, stock preparation equipment, storeroom items, mill wide pumps, valves and instrumentation, shop equipment, rolling stock and stainless steel scrap.