Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, 28 April 2011 -- The Prince Albert pulp mill is open for the first time in five years and moving toward a full restart of pulp operations. Except this time, the mill will be making dissolving pulp instead of kraft. Paper Excellence has finalized its purchase of the facility in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, that has been shut down since 2006.
Paper Excellence will be investing more than CAD 200 million to convert the mill so that it can produce dissolving pulp. At least 200 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs will be brought back to the community as the mill restarts.
Ed Roste, Paper Excellence's Canadian vice-president of operations, noted that the company is embarking on an accelerated restart program with a targeted restart timeline of 12 months, ensuring that the mill is operational by the second quarter of 2012.
The company has begun hiring for key personnel in Prince Albert and its office will be fully operational within a week. Engineering contracts are being negotiated as are key equipment purchases.
The new timeline for restarting the mill will require major forest harvest activity no later than late fall this year. Roste said discussions are advancing well with industry and First Nations partners, government, and a number of support operations.
"Saskatchewan has been a great place to operate with our mill in Meadow Lake," Roste said. "We are very excited to revive the Prince Albert pulp mill as part of our ongoing and long-term commitments to our forestry operations in Saskatchewan and Canada, and we thank the premier, the minister, and the Saskatchewan government for their strong support."
Commitments made by the provincial government include provision of an adequate fiber supply, a clean biomass power purchase agreement with SaskPower, an agreement to maintain the existing environmental liability from when the mill operated as a Crown Corporation before 1986, and new pension plan agreements that respect the obligations to previous employees.
The government also is providing a letter of commitment for the CAD 500,000 per year that it is allocating toward training of new mill operators in new mill processes during the mill's first two years of operation under its new owners.