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Imperial resumes refining sugar at plant

POSTED: December 4, 2008 5:00 a.m.
PORT WENTWORTH - Imperial Sugar's coastal Georgia plant is operating again for the first time since a February explosion killed 14 people and injured dozens more.

Company CEO John Sheptor said Wednesday the refinery in Port Wentworth resumed producing liquid sugar earlier this month and on Thursday will receive its first shipment of raw sugar since the explosion nearly 10 months ago.

Imperial Sugar executives and employees celebrated Wednesday as they broke ground on a new 75,000-square-foot packaging plant to replace the one destroyed by the blast, which investigators determined was caused by dust igniting like gunpowder.

Sheptor said the refinery should resume producing crystalized sugar in early 2009 and all new construction should be finished by next fall.

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