The omnibus jobs bill that emerged from a legislative conference committee Thursday proposes to provide a $2 million forgivable loan to help Verso Corp. retrofit its Duluth paper mill.

The state funds would leverage at least $20 million of additional private investment in the plant, diversifying its product mix to include “packaging paper grades.”

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The project, which would need to begin by the end of 2020, could help ensure the mill’s future, which employs 225 people in Duluth.

If the plant continues to employ the equivalent of at least 200 people on a full-time basis for a five-year period after the project is completed, the loan would be forgiven in full.

While funding for the loan is included in the conference committee omnibus jobs bill, it must still win a majority of the House and Senate vote before it can be approved. Gov. Tim Walz called the Legislature to reconvene for a special session Friday.