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Morris ethanol plant to shut down temporarily

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MORRIS - The DENCO ethanol plant in Morris will cease operations temporarily, its general manager said Monday.

DENCO's Gerald Bachmeier said the company stopped taking corn deliveries on Monday and that the plant would close "until the economics change."

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More details are expected soon, Bachmeier said.

DENCO was founded in 1999 with 340 investers. Shareholders in November 2005 approved selling the company to Big Island Grain, a subsidiary of Babcock and Brown Environmental Investments. The sale was finalized in January 2006.

At the time of the sale, DENCO was producing about 25 million gallons of ethanol per year and employed 38 people.

DENCO processed about 9 million bushels of corn per year.

There are plans and environmental permits in place for a second, 100 million gallon per year plant in Alberta, but those plans have been on hold.

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