Province Protects Jobs, Keeps Mill Re-sale Ready
March 16, 2012
Released by Province of Nova Scotia
Premier Darrell Dexter today, March 16, announced further investments in the former NewPage Mill that will protect hundreds of jobs in the Strait area.
These investments will extend the Forestry Infrastructure Fund, and will keep the mill in its "hot idle" state until the end of September.
"My main concern is for the workers, families, and businesses in the Strait," said Premier Dexter. "Although negotiations with Stern Group are taking longer than hoped, I am optimistic that we will secure a deal that will see the mill back in business in this community and sustainable for years to come."
An operating mill would provide about 330 direct and 600 indirect jobs in woodlands, sawmills, power generation and other indirect industries. Re-opening the mill would also help to retain about 500 spinoff jobs in the community.
The Forestry Infrastructure Fund, also known as the Woodlands Action Plan, has been in place since September to support NewPage's supply chain and keep the mill re-sale ready. This fund has kept hundreds of people working and has helped maintain a contractor base in the region.
The province's total investment, including new funds, will include:
-- Up to $9 million for the Forestry Infrastructure Fund to maintain the mill's supply chain until the end of September after recoveries from logging sales. This new investment will come from jobsHere, the province's plan to grow the economy.
-- A new provincial investment of $5.8 million will ensure the mill continues to be re-sale ready in "hot idle".
-- Funding announced today totals $14.8 million. This brings the total new investment to protect jobs at the mill since 2011 to $27.3 million.
The province will also allow the mill to access another $10 million provided under a May 2006 agreement with Stora Enso signed by the previous government.
"The province has supported the sales process from the very beginning," said Premier Dexter. "We are committed to keeping the mill re-sale ready to get it back in operation, saving hundreds of jobs and helping Nova Scotia families."
Negotiations continue about energy, fibre and labour. Any energy agreement between Nova Scotia Power and the Stern Group is subject to approval by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The sale of the mill will be contingent on acceptance of terms by NewPage creditors and the court.
A viable forestry industry in Nova Scotia brings millions of dollars in revenue for the province to help fund important programs and services for Nova Scotians.
The province continues to focus on forestry issues through its Deputy Minister's Committee on Mills and the work done by the forest-sector transition team, which identifies issues and opportunities in the sector.