The owners of the Prince Albert Pulp Mill are optimistic about the facility’s future.

Graham Kissack, vice president of environment, health, safety and corporate communications for Paper Excellence said the company feels good about overall market conditions and the province.

“We’re bullish on the long term viability of craft mills, especially for Saskatchewan, we think it’s a great jurisdiction to be operating in,” he said.

Paper Excellence announced Friday they planned to spend $600,000 to help modernize the facility, which has been closed since 2006. When Paper Excellence bought the mill in 2011 they agreed to sign a non-compete agreement with the previous owner which is set to expire this March.

Kissack said the work currently being undertaken at the facility will make it run better economically and environmentally. He added it will take time before it is ready to resume production.

“Right now we’re projecting the restart would probably be in the summer of 2023,” he said.

Besides the closed mill in Prince Albert, Paper Excellence also owns the Meadow Lake Pulp Mill. Kissack explained as part of that operation they work with Indigenous groups in and around the area.

“It’s a very effective partnership,” he said.

In their media release the company said they have been meeting with representatives from Indigenous groups in P.A. Kissack declined to say who they specifically were meeting with. He described the talks as being in the preliminary stages.

However, generally speaking Kissack said the company is interested in working with Indigenous groups in a range of potential areas.

“We’re interested in partnering with local Indigenous groups on the operation certainly if it relates to supply chain and access and supply of forest fiber, but also opportunity for potential ownership and operation for parts of the mill,” he said.

(Submitted Photo: Paper Excellence signs outside the Prince Albert Pulp Mill)