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PPI News » Deal not closed, but NewPage buyer organizing workforce

Having cemented its labour contract, the company negotiating to purchase the NewPage mill in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., has advised former employees who will, or won’t, be called back if the mill re-opens.

Only about 229 unionized workers will be returning to work at the mill, down from the more than 500 who were employed prior to the mill’s closure in September 2011. The potential buyer, Pacific West Commercial Corp., will only restart the supercalendered paper line, not the newsprint machine.

Pacific West has reached a tentative deal concerning its electrical power rate, but the agreement must be approved by the province’s utility review board. A meeting has been scheduled for July. A Pacific West spokesman told the Cape Breton Post in May that the company is ready to proceed with the restart once the electricity rate agreement is approved, so workers could be working again as early as August.

Despite the mill closure, work continues on a Nova Scotia Power’s biomass power cogeneration plant at the NewPage Port Hawkesbury site. The steam turbine and generator were placed in late April. Nova Scotia Power says the work on the high pressure steam piping and electrical connections for the generator can now begin. The plant should be producing power by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

With regard to the biomass project, Amec Americas Ltd. of Dartmouth, N.S., is suing NewPage Port Hawkesbury and Nova Scotia Power for $1.5 million. Amec claims it is owed that amount for unpaid design, engineering and construction management work on the $208-million biomass power generation project.

In a story published in the Chronicle Herald on May 14, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Neera Ritcey said the Amec filing was part of the process of safeguarding its lien registration on the Point Tupper property where the biomass project is located.

She said Nova Scotia Power continues to work with Amec to complete the biomass project, which is on schedule, and the utility is confident that all outstanding project issues will be resolved.

Source: pulp and paper canada

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