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Northern Pulp cuts down on operations to enable safe closure of mill

The Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation mill is seen in Abercrombie, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017.
The Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation mill is seen in Abercrombie, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation announced Sunday that it has begun the wind-down of its mill operations in a safe and environmentally sound way in order to meet its Jan. 31 deadline imposed by the government.

The premier of Nova Scotia said in December 2019 that the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou, N.S., must stop pumping wastewater into lagoons near an Indigenous community by that date.

READ MORE: N.S. offering ’emotional support’ line to workers affected by mill closure

According to the company, by early next week, only the wood waste boiler will continue to operate to provide heat for the facility to protect against freeze and enable cleanup of the process equipment.

Over the coming weeks, Northern Pulp will also focus on the removal of chemicals, pulp, and wood fibre from mill storage tanks, piping, and wood yards to prepare the facility for its indefinite closure.

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Member of newly-formed forestry transition team fired

In a written statement, Northen Pulp stated that “the company continues discussions with government with respect to the site’s hibernation plan. The length of time the facility will be in hibernation is currently unknown.”

“Our team is also focused on supporting our employees and their families as the reality of lost jobs and livelihoods becomes clearer with the hibernation,” it added.

READ MORE: Northern Pulp mill to move ahead with environmental assessment process

As of Jan. 9, Nova Scotia’s Environment Department said Northern Pulp intends to move ahead with the environmental assessment process for a proposed effluent treatment facility, even though the mill is scheduled to shut down at the end of the month.

“We still believe that a prosperous forestry economy and healthy environment can co-exist in Pictou County, just like it does in 89 other communities with pulp and paper mills across Canada,” stated the company.

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