Plan Reached To Re-Open P.A. Pulp Mill

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 16:37



The provincial government and Domtar have reached an agreement on re-opening the Prince Albert Pulp Mill and the Wapawekka Lumber sawmill.


The province and Domtar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that could see the two facilities re-opened by the late summer or early fall of 2008.


Under the deal, the pulp mill will be re-developed into a Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp mill.


It will also be expanded to produce green energy for sale into the provincial power grid.


There will also be a major expansion of the Wapawekka Sawmill to double its annual production.


As well, Domtar will seek a partnership with a third party to build and operate a chip plant near the mill.


The Big River Sawmill will be redeveloped as a potential hardwood operation.


The company will also relinquish its rights to the Prince Albert Forest Management Agreement.


The government and Domtar have also agreed to ensure that First Nations and Metis people in the Prince Albert area are actively involved in the developments.


If everything goes according to plan, the province will be putting $99.7 million into its commitments under the MOU. $15 million of that sum will finance the purchase of a 10 per cent interest in the pulp mill — a stake the province says will be made available for purchase by area First Nations.


Another $26.5 million of government funds will be used to acquire a 36 per cent interest in Wapawekka, with an option to buy Domtar’s remaining 15 per cent stake for $7 million in 2009. The other 49 per cent is currently owned by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, Montreal Lake Cree Nation and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.


The pulp mill has been closed since April of last year. The closure of the mill and the adjoining paper mill threw 700 people out of work.


The paper mill won’t be re-opened.