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Northern Pulp advancing transformation plan, progressing with EA registration


October 27, 2021
By P&PC Staff

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Northern Pulp Nova Scotia recently shared an update on its commitment to using technology to transform the kraft pulp mill into a clean, environmentally focussed mill. The mill is submitting an Environmental Assessment (EA) registration document to Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change by the end of November to start the stringent two-year Class II EA process for the transformation.

“Our focus for the next couple of years is on defining a path for a new mill that aligns with the community’s aspirations, and on moving forward with the EA process with a transparent and science-based approach,” said Graham Kissack, vice-president of environment, health and safety at Paper Excellence. “Throughout the EA process, we are committed to engaging with stakeholders, conducting thorough environmental research, and being transparent with our results. We are convinced that a fact-based approach will allow for a successful EA. Our hope is to obtain clear terms of reference, and make sure expectations are set in a transparent manner from the start and remain consistent throughout the process.”

Northern Pulp created the transformation proposal using community input and considering the technology available to facilitate this transformation.

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“We have been meeting with local communities and businesses with the Environmental Liaison Committee and the need for a transformed mill in the region is evident. Once environmental approvals are received, we intend to invest and build the best mill possible. We want to contribute to a successful economy, with over 600 jobs during construction, more than 300 direct and 2,500 indirect jobs during operations, a $279 million annual spend in Nova Scotia, a contribution of over $38 million in tax annually, as well as various contributions to our communities’ life and projects,” said Jean-François Guillot, vice-president of operations, East, Paper Excellence.

According to Northern Pulp, the transformation will result in:

  • No odour in local communities during normal operations
  • 70 percent reduction in visible plumes above the mill
  • Water use reduced by close to half
  • The most advanced wastewater treatment, to ensure the water released is clean and transparent (tertiary effluent treatment facility)
  • An optimal location of release into Pictou Harbour determined through objective environmental and marine studies
  • Updated appearance, with new exterior siding and finishes

In the meantime, Northern Pulp has also taken the required steps to secure its legal rights related to the mill closure. The mill notes that this had resulted in significant financial losses.

Northern Pulp stated in a release that it had to engage in settlement discussions with the two previous provincial governments but did not meet with success. The new government has requested the company to file its legal claims related to the mill closure and allow the province time to evaluate the claims and supporting evidence before engaging in any settlement discussions.

Northern Pulp has made claims under the province’s indemnity for the more than $100 million in losses already incurred and has provided the province with the required two months’ advance notice of its intent to commence legal proceedings to preserve its legal rights. Total losses related to the early closure of the mill are estimated to exceed $450 million.

The resolution of legal proceedings through a settlement is a critical component of Northern Pulp’s plan to transform and re-start the mill.

“This action confirms our desire to reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement that is fair to taxpayers and compensates us for the losses suffered. Our intention is to use these funds to transform and re-start the Mill once we receive environmental approvals,” said Guillot.

The reinjection of the funds would benefit Nova Scotians across the province during the transformation phase and operations and provide an economically viable solution for implementing ecological forestry.