After laying dormant for over a decade, Prince Albert’s pulp and paper mill could come roaring back to life following a $600,000 injection from parent company Paper Excellence.
The B.C. company purchased the mill back in 2011 from DOMTAR, and the non-compete agreement with the former owner runs out in March.
Recently, Paper Excellence has begun engineering and consulting work that could see the mill open in the summer of 2023.
“The opportunity to restart and manufacture craft pulp there has always been something that we’ve wanted to do, and clearly we’re in a position now where we can almost do that,” Paper Excellence environmental health, safety and communications vice president Graham Kissack said via Zoom from Mill Bay, B.C.
“The biggest barrier to operating it has been the non-compete which is now finally expiring.”
In 2006, when the mill closed its doors, upwards of 700 people were left without jobs.
Kissack said re-opening would be greatly beneficial to Prince Albert’s economy.
“This obviously represents 200 direct jobs, you know 300 million plus in annual economic lift, and a great deal more in economic spinoff,” he said.
Elise Hildrebrandt, CEO of the Prince Albert Chamber of Commerce, also sees positives of the mills return to production.
“It’ll mean a lot of our people can go back to the jobs that they had, it also brings a lot of people back home,” she said. “There were a lot of people who were working in Alberta, so, they’ll be able to get jobs back in Saskatchewan.”