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Newton Falls Paper equipment sold

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NEWTON FALLS - Equipment from Newton Falls Fine Paper was sold piecemeal at auction Thursday, reducing the chance that the mill will operate again.

Fine Town Supervisor Mark C. Hall, a member of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, attended part of the sale that started at 11 a.m. in Syracuse.

The plant’s one operating paper machine brought a total of $442,000 in bids sold as individual parts, Mr. Hall said. There were no bids to buy the machine as a whole unit.

The second paper machine, which was not in service when the plant was closed in 2010 by Scotia Investments, Halifax, Nova Scotia, had a top bid as a single lot of $150,000, Mr. Hall said.

Even after Scotia Investments announced the sale, the IDA worked to broker a deal that would have kept the plant available for a buyer to operate.

“We have been very actively engaged in discussions with Scotia and their representatives to find a scenario under which the mill could remain intact and find a path toward continued operation,” IDA Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said Thursday while the sale was still going on. “At this point, we should wait and see what remains after the auction and whether any productive capacity is left. We need to have a full understanding of the consequence of today’s event.”

Robert G. Patzelt, vice president of corporate development for Scotia, the parent company of the Newton Falls plant, was not available for comment on whether his company was satisfied with the sale.

A representative of Continental Plants Group said the sale was still going on at 5 p.m. and that some items — which he declined to name — had not sold for lack of an adequate bid.

Scotia and its subsidiary, Minas Basin Pulp and Power, initially made the mill a success, reopening it in 2007 after a seven-year shutdown. But the mill ran into problems in 2010 and closed. The company had a restart plan which failed to materialize, and company officials put the plant back on the market last year.

The real estate, including the 15-acre manufacturing site and about 4,000 more acres of land, also is offered for sale.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation had no immediate comment on requirements it would have for removing equipment from the property.

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