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Pictou County Pulp Mill Could Re-Open With $350 Million Transformation

Northern Pulp’s mill in Pictou County – (unifor.org)

Paper Excellence the owner of Northern Pulp is proposing a complete transformation of Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation’s kraft pulp mill in Pictou County that is used in the manufacturing of a variety of products from tissue and paper towels to food additives and packaging.

Northern Pulp says it looks forward to meaningful engagement and collaboration with Pictou Landing First Nation and members of the Indigenous community in Nova Scotia.

The transformation of Northern Pulp would result in hundreds of jobs during construction and re-establish more than 300 well-paying direct mill jobs in Pictou County and more than 2,500 forestry sector jobs throughout the province when the Mill is operational.

Unifor Local 440 represents nearly 300 workers who were laid off in 2020. “We hope Northern Pulp’s plan to transform the mill into one of the world’s cleanest will meet Nova Scotia’s environmental standards so workers can get back to their good jobs that are vital to the province’s forestry sector,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

The Mill operated for more than six decades prior to its hibernation in January 2020. Paper Excellence says that future Mill operations and processes, from community engagement and transparency to forestry practices and addressing odour, air, and water emissions, must be better than the Mill of yesterday.

Paper Excellence is proposing to transform the Mill into a best-in-class operation and one of the world’s cleanest, most environmentally focused, and community-based mills.

“Paper Excellence acknowledges community concerns and wants to work with community members to build trust, finalize a transformation plan for a clean and sustainable Mill, and develop a new relationship for the Mill and community moving forward,” said Graham Kissack, VP Environment, Health & Safety, and Corporate Communications, Paper Excellence.

The more than $350 million proposed transformation plan has been developed to address community issues and concerns while using best available technology to transform the Mill into a best-in-class operation, environmentally and otherwise.

From Paper Excellence

The proposed transformation plan will provide a sustainable future for the Mill and its workforce, the community, and the forestry sector throughout Nova Scotia. Among other things, the Mill transformation will result in:

  • No detectable odour in surrounding communities during normal operations, visible plumes above the Mill reduced by 70%, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Water use reduced by 45%, and wastewater components to be treated and reduced by 75%. The treated wastewater will be released into Pictou Harbour, adjacent to the Mill site. The exact location will be determined through further environmental study and community engagement.
  • All new equipment is located on the Mill site and no pipeline crossing neighborhood communities.
  • Full implementation of the Lahey Report recommendations on Northern Pulp-owned and Crown-managed land.
  • A low-carbon and energy-efficient operation.

Key elements of the Mill transformation include:

  • A public dashboard on the Northern Pulp website to display live environmental data, such as ambient monitors, mill recorded environmental data, water use, etc.
  • Oxygen delignification to reduce bleaching chemical use.
  • Best new primary and secondary treatment systems to remove solids, organics, and colour.
  • Installation of a new tertiary effluent treatment system, consisting of rotating disc filters, to ensure the highest quality water release and colour removal. The continuously operating tertiary treatment will be the second of its kind in Canada.
  • Converting the recovery boiler to a low-odour configuration.
  • A new wet electrostatic precipitator to remove fine particles from being released into the air.
  • Implement the Lahey Report recommendations on Northern Pulp private lands and crown allocation.

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