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      Hemlock Semiconductor announces layoffs

      Hemlock Semiconductor is laying off 100 workers in Michigan and three-fourths of its employees in Clarksville, Tenn., shortly before production was to begin.

      Officials of the Michigan-based company say the company is laying off 300 of its 400 employees in Clarksville, plus the 100 workers at its Michigan plant.

      The $1.2 billion plant near the Kentucky border was scheduled to begin production of polycrystalline silicon. The compound is used in solar energy panels.

      Hemlock President Andrew Tometich said the plant will be utilized and the company looks forward to production.

      Asked if the layoffs mean the plant might not open this year, he conceded that is possible.