PORTLAND (AP) – Toronto-based Brascan Corp. on Tuesday finalized its $103 million purchase of Great Northern Paper, paving the way for the resumption of papermaking at its mill in East Millinocket.

The mills in East Millinocket and Millinocket employed more than 1,100 people before their previous owner, Inexcon Maine, shut them down in late December before filing for bankruptcy in January.

Brascan emerged as the winning bidder in bankruptcy proceedings and later announced that it would operate the mills with a work force reduced by about 50 percent.

Within weeks of Tuesday’s closing, the East Millinocket mill is expected to resume production with two paper machines and about 375 employees. But it could be another year or more before the Millinocket mill, with about 175 workers, is back on line.

Officials have said it makes no sense to operate the mill in the current economic environment because it would lose money.

The two mills will be operated as one complex and the infrastructure that once supported 17 paper machines will be reconfigured to support just three.

A Brascan unit, Stamford, Conn.-based Nexfor Fraser Papers Inc., will operate and sell Great Northern’s products. Officials have said the mills will be given a new name linked to Fraser.

Fred Moore, who has worked at Great Northern for 30 years, said Tuesday that fellow employees were awaiting final word on when they could return to the job.

“Their moods will change as soon as they get the word they’re going back to work. Then they’ll be happy,” he said.

Great Northern produces paper for telephone directories, advertising and elementary school books.

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