Sappi Fine Paper will cut 27 positions from its Cloquet pulp mill as part of a 5 percent reduction in its North American workforce.
No current workers are being laid off in Cloquet. Retirements and attrition are expected to take care of the planned cuts, officials said.
Still, it's the latest news of struggle in the region's paper industry. International Falls, Minnesota, is still reeling from more than 200 lost paper jobs. A mill in Fort Frances, Ontario, closed down earlier this year.
Sappi CEO Mark Gardner announced the Cloquet cuts Tuesday in a letter to employees. It came shortly after a second quarter financial report showed what company spokesman Mark Hittie called "a challenging market environment" within the paper industry. In all, 110 Sappi North American positions will be eliminated, the company said.
"You don't want to lose any jobs, but Sappi is doing this in a pretty humane way," Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said.
Life is hard in paper towns, but Ahlgren noted that Sappi's move isn't throwing anyone out of work in Cloquet and those who are near retirement will likely still stick around Cloquet. Their jobs won't be refilled, but the cuts won't likely cause a mass exodus, he said, adding he hopes the cuts are a one-time event.
Sappi's recent investments in the Cloquet area will also help soften the blow, said Wayne Brandt, vice president of the trade group Minnesota Forest Industries
Last year Sappi completed a $170 million project in its Cloquet mill that lets it turn pulp into cellulose, which can be turned into everything from diapers to cellphone screens, Brandt added.
"You don't drop $170 million into a facility if you're planning to close," he said.