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White Birch Bear Island paper mill in Virginia shutting down; 165 employees being laid off

BEAR ISLAND, Virginia (From the Times-Dispatch) -- The Bear Island newsprint manufacturing mill in northern Hanover County is being closed, affecting 165 employees, its parent company announced today.

White Birch Paper Co., which owns the facility, said it plans to indefinitely idle paper making operations at the local mill and supply customers from its three other paper mills.

The Bear Island mill produces about 240,000 metric tons of newsprint annually. The plant, located just south of Kings Dominion, opened in 1979.

The company said about 165 employees of the Bear Island mill were notified today of the closure. The final date of operations will be announced shortly, the company said.

Difficult market pricing, challenging cost fundamentals and declining demand necessitated the closure, the company said.

"It is truly unfortunate to have to make this difficult decision, and we will be forever grateful to the employees at Bear Island for their tireless efforts and service" said Christopher Brant, the company's president and chief operating officer, in a statement.

White Birch said it will also explore "alternative industrial options" for the site.


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