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Port Hawkesbury paper mill re-opens

24 Sep 2012 − 

After lengthy negotiations, investor Pacific West Commercial Corporation reached an agreement with the Nova Scotian Government to take over the New Page SC paper mill.

Soon, the Port Hawkesbury paper mill is to be up and running again. After the deal between the Nova Scotian government and the investor Pacific West Commercial Corp. appeared to have fallen through on Thursday, 21 September, Nova Scotia’s Premier Darrell Dexter, announced on 22 September that Pacific West Commercial Corp. had approached the government with a new proposal to take over the paper mill. According to a statement from the Premier, an agreement had been reached by Friday night.

“The new deal is a win-win for the province and Pacific West. Overnight, the province achieved a better arrangement for taxpayers and Pacific West achieved the competitive position it needs to operate the mill profitably for the long run,” Premier Darrell Dexter said in a statement.

Pacific West Commercial Corp. plans to take over the former New Page Port Hawkesbury SC paper mill as of 28 September. The renamed ‘Port Hawkesbury Paper’ is to produce SC paper as of the first days of October. According to the company’s Facebook page, the first workers have been back to revamp the mill since Monday, 24 September.

"I am very pleased – for the employees of the mill, members of the community, and the mill's many suppliers and customers – to be able to announce that the issues that prevented the mill from restarting have been overcome. Many people have worked extremely hard to arrive at this moment, and we will all continue to work hard together over the coming years to ensure that Port Hawkesbury remains the highest quality, most competitive paper mill of its kind in North America,” said Ron Stern, CEO of Pacific West Commercial Corp. in a press release.

New Page Port Hawkesbury had to suspend operations at two machines with a capacity of 190,000 tpy of newsprint and 360,000 tpy of SC paper in mid-September 2011 due to market weakness as well as the negative impact of the high-flying Canadian dollar. The provincial government has so far invested an amount of CAD36.8m in the mill to keep it in a “hot idle” state and therefore attractive for potential investors. Moreover, it was announced in August 2012 that the province is to invest several million Canadian dollars through its Jobs Fund and several million dollars through the Department of Natural Resources to support the mill.

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