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New owners will not reopen Verso paper mill

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Sartell fire
Firefighters from area department continue to put water on the fire at the Verso Paper Co. plant in Sartell, Minn., Tuesday, May 29, 2012. The blast at the mill on Sunday, May, 28, 2012 killed one worker and injured five. Montreal-based scrap metal and recycling business, American Iron & Metal Co., purchased the Verso paper mill this week with plans to disassemble the plant.
AP Photo/St. Cloud Times, Jason Wachter

A shuttered paper mill in the central Minnesota town of Sartell will not reopen under new ownership.

Montreal-based scrap metal and recycling business, American Iron & Metal Co., purchased the Verso paper mill this week with plans to disassemble the plant. The company paid an undisclosed amount for the mill, which was damaged in an explosion and fire last May.

"We're not going to run the paper mill. It's gone. There's no market for that," said Herbert Black, president and CEO of American Iron & Metal Co. "But there's buildings there that will be recycled, meaning reused. We'll be looking to make a development there."

Black said he will have a better sense of what any development might look like after he visits the site in February.

"We're going to look to cooperate with the town and the people and do the best for the city there with that piece of land and what's there," Black said. "We're very friendly towards the people of the place."

One man died in the Memorial Day blast at the mill. In December, the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Division cited Verso with two serious violations at the mill. According to the agency, the violations may have contributed to or caused the accident.