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B.C. forest minister says Mackenzie take-over is an exception


January 29, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

British Columbia’s Forest Minister, Pat Bell, has said the provincial government’s decision to take over the idled …

British Columbia’s Forest Minister, Pat Bell, has said the provincial government’s decision to take over the idled Mackenzie pulp mill was an exceptional move, and that B.C. does not plan to take over any other troubled mills.

The Nanaimo Daily News quoted Bell as saying the decision to take over the Mackenzie mill was spurred by concerns of a possible toxic chemical leak. According to the article, the mill’s owner, Alberta-based Worthington Mackenzie Land Holdings, has stopped paying the approximately 50 employees that still work at the mill. Worthington Mackenzie Land Holdings purchased the mill out of receivership in September 2008.

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The mill and its equipment have to be kept warm to prevent a toxic chlorine dioxide leak, which could affect the nearby community of about 5,000 people.

Earlier this week, the Vancouver Sun reported Alberta entrepreneur Dan White had stepped down as director of Worthington Mackenzie and Worthington Mackenzie Land Holdings. White later denied being the owner of the mill, instead calling himself “the point man.” Currently, Drago N. Puskaric of Slovenia is listed as the sole director, and the company address has also been transferred to the central European country.

The province said it plans to keep the mill in a warm shutdown and is seeking third party advice. Bell said operating the mill could be an option, as transporting the more than one million litres of chlorine dioxide away from the site would be too dangerous.


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