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B. C. Government Takes Responsibility For Keeping Mackenzie Mill Warm


March 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Victoria, B. C. – British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment was compelled take over operation of the idled Worthington pulp mill in Mackenzie, B. C., to prevent the facility from freezing and potenti…

Victoria, B. C. – British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment was compelled take over operation of the idled Worthington pulp mill in Mackenzie, B. C., to prevent the facility from freezing and potentially leaking or releasing dangerous substances, including chlorine dioxide and caustic soda.

The provincial government declared an environmental emergency at the site in January when it became clear the mill’s owners were not taking the necessary actions to properly maintain the site and employees who had not been paid for weeks were prepared to walk away.

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Under the wintry conditions of northern B. C. in January, failure to maintain and operate the boiler would likely result in pipes, tanks, and other equipment freezing, and possibly rupturing.

In a further development, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission ordered radioactive nuclear instruments at the mill be removed, saying there was the potential for a risk to health and safety, and to the security of the nuclear substances.

Following the provincial government’s intervention, the mill’s owner, Edmonton-based Worthington Industries, did pay back wages for the staff who were maintaining critical operating systems.

In mid-February, Worthington’s plans for the mill were still unclear.


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