Paper Excellence is committed to continuing operations at Northern Pulp, says Kathy Cloutier, communications director for Paper Excellence.
“You don’t leave an area because there are some protests,” she said.
Paper Excellence has invested more than 200 million in upgrades at the pulp mill since purchasing it in 2011 and has no plans of walking away now, she added.
Rumours have been circulating that Paper Excellence may be considering moving out of Pictou County because of the ongoing protests, but Cloutier said there is no truth to that.
Paper Excellence owns mills in other parts of North America, but each is dealt with as a separate entity, she said.
One mill Paper Excellence owns is the former Domtar pulp mill in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. It has been used in the past to produce northern bleached kraft pulp – the same product as is made at Northern Pulp. It was purchased by Paper Excellence in 2011, but due to a non-compete clause, the company is not allowed to sell northern bleached kraft pulp from it until 2021. Initially, Cloutier said, Paper Excellence had considered producing a different type of pulp, which would have been used in products like diapers and hygiene products, but those plans didn’t materialize.
Recently, Paper Excellence put out a request for proposals to get estimates on the cost of returning the mill to operation as northern bleached kraft pulp mill.
But Cloutier said what’s happening at the Prince Albert mill has “absolutely nothing to do with Northern Pulp.”
She said Paper Excellence remains committed to Northern Pulp employees and the forest industry as a whole in Nova Scotia.
“That will not change,” she said.
Northern Pulp is currently preparing to replace the existing Boat Harbour Treatment Facility which is required by provincial legislation and a 2014 promise by the provincial government, to close by January 2020. The company is looking at building a new treatment facility onsite at Abercrombie Point and pumping the treated effluent from a pipe into the Northumberland Strait.
The initial route that Northern Pulp had planned for the pipe is currently being adjusted to deal with some obstacles along the route including a sunken ship and a sunken pier as well as the risk of ice scours at the outfall location. The general location of the pipe remains the same, however, Cloutier said with the biggest difference being that the outfall location will be deeper into the water than initially planned. She said it will be in the same general location however.