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Mackenzie buys time


July 18, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Mackenzie pulp mill workers have reason to hold out hope a little longer. A decision handed down by the BC Supreme …

Mackenzie pulp mill workers have reason to hold out hope a little longer. A decision handed down by the BC Supreme Court now allows a potential purchaser of the northern BC facility until September 2 to make a bid.

According to a report by the Canadian Press, the ruling came at the same time as a dismissal of Canfor’s application to have its wood chip supply agreement with the Mackenzie mill, which was formerly run by Pope & Talbot, cancelled.

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“Hopefully someone will step up to the plate now and buy us,” the Canadian Press reported Carl Bernasky, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union local 1092 as saying.

The report further confirmed that Bernasky has caught wind of three possible buyers for the facility, who all intend to continue to operate the mill as a pulp facility. He did express concern however, that the prolonged contract dispute between Canfor and CEP may have discouraged possible purchasers from buying the mill. A tentative agreement was struck between Canfor and CEP just last week.

As Canadian Press confirmed, Canfor’s court application was made on the argument that the terms of its contract were violated when the Pope & Talbot Mackenzie facility was shut down and it was no longer accepting wood chips. The application was denied by the court, but the potential breach of contract was not addressed in the ruling. Then, Canfor announced its closure of the Mackenzie sawmill in June.

Canadian Press further reported BC Supreme Court Judge Donald Brenner as noting that the Canfor and Pope & Talbot mills in Mackenzie are “inextricably linked,” and that with the lack of an agreement on the Canfor chip issue, trying to secure a buyer for the Pope & Talbot mill would be difficult.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is charged with selling the facility.


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