MACKENZIE, B.C. -- The Mackenzie pulp mill in British Columbia has been acquired by Paper Excellence B.V., a business unit of Indonesia's Sinar Mas. The transaction secures the future of the mill, which is expected to resume production of NBSK pulp in the fall. Reuters reports that Paper Excellence paid $20 million for the mill, and will invest $30 to $40 million to restart it.
This mill is the Paper Excellence Group's second acquisition in Canada. It also owns and operates a pulp mill in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.
It took a concerted effort by a number of organizations and groups to get the mill to the point where it could resume production. Team Mackenzie of the Mackenzie Pulp Mill Development Corporation preserved the capacity of the mill to resume production. The provincial government worked with the District of Mackenzie to consolidate and reduce the debt of the mill. B.C. Community and Rural Development Minister Bill Bennett thanked public servants in the Rural BC Secretariat for the instrumental role they played in crafting a deal that will ensure hundreds of people in Mackenzie can head back to work.
The McLeod Lake Indian Band worked with the Ministry of Forests and Range to help secure the fibre needed to start the mill. Also important was the negotiation of a new collective agreement with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP). The agreement preserves wages, benefits and pensions, while enabling the mill to reopen with significant cost reductions.