0501 Luke mill.jpg

The former Verso paper mill along the Potomac River in Luke, Md., shuttered since mid-2019.

LUKE, Md. — The pulp mill that papermaker Verso shuttered a year and a half ago may soon reopen.

WCBC radio in Cumberland was reporting Tuesday morning that Verso is close to finalizing the sale of the mill and its wood yard to a company identified as Whiskey River.

WCBC said Whiskey River plans a “lumber-related” business at the mill that would include wood chips sold internationally.

Holding up the closing is the disassembly of a pair of paper machines that are being sent abroad. The sale won’t close until after they’re gone.

Preliminary indicators are that the mill will hire 200 people, about a 3rd of the 675 jobs lost when it closed in May 2019.

Perhaps as importantly, it will provide a new buyer for the dozens of loggers in the region who were crippled by the mill’s closing.

The Luke family opened Piedmont Pulp and Paper Company on the site in 1888, 133 years ago. West Virginia Pulp and Paper, which eventually became Mead-Westvaco, took ownership 10 years later.

The mill was one of the 1st to produce newsprint made entirely of wood pulp and grew to employ 1,800 people producing 1,200 tons of coated paper daily by the mid-1990s.

The mill was spun off with other Mead-Westvaco properties to form NewPage Corp. in 2005. Verso acquired NewPage in 2015, a year before it entered bankruptcy.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.