The effort to reopen an ailing pulp and paper mill in Port Hawkesbury is over.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says Pacific West Commercial Corporation will not proceed with reopening the NewPage mill.
“I know this news will be devastating to the workers and their families,” said Dexter in a late Friday night press release.
Just a day before the decision to not re-open the mill, Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker said the deal was not in danger of unravelling despite delays.
The mill was closed in last September. The company blamed the rising Canadian loonie, shipping costs and utility rates. Efforts to re-open the mill were stunted late last week after a tax agreement considered vital to restart the operation was rejected. The provincial government announced it would be reworking an already announced $124.5-million deal to help facilitate the purchase.
“The negotiators have worked extremely hard this week to tie down those details,” said Dexter. “But in the end the Canada Revenue Agency ruling made this an impossible situation to overcome. Every option identified exposed Nova Scotia taxpayers to too much risk and the province was not prepared to accept that.”
Premier Dexter noted that the employees took significant steps to set the mill up for restart on a competitive basis, and that Richmond County worked hard to arrive at a fair agreement on property taxes.
“The key for Nova Scotia was that this mill operates for the long term and that the jobs be there for decades to come, not just a year or two.”
The mill closure affected close to 1,000 workers in Cape Breton where the unemployment rate is 13.7 per cent.