2012-07-20 at NOON
A ‘new start’
FILE -- Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle.
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Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources says he’s thrilled the province’s Superior Court approved the sale of the Terrace Bay mill.
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“This heralds a new start for the Terrace Bay mill and one I think will be truly sustainable,” said Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay-Superior North) Friday.
The decision came at 5 p.m. Thursday from the court to allow the purchase of the mill to the India-based Birla Group. The sale was being held back because of a $220 million bid for the mill made last week by the China-based Tangshan Sanyou Xinda Chemical Fibre Co.
The Birla Group plans to invest $250 million into converting the plant to produce rayon fibre for clothing.
Once the mill is fully operational again it will employ at least 275 people as well as create about 335 woodland jobs.
“The conversion process will mean this is a mill that will be in operation for many, many years to come. It feeds a market the Birla Group themselves have in terms of the manufacturing of clothing products and that’s really good and exciting news,” said Gravelle.
The Minister added that the province worked hard with the court monitor Ernst and Young and with the Birla Group to come to a deal and he will speak to the province’s role in the securing of the deal once the final contract is in place.
There are still some final contract details that need to be completed before the sale of the mill is finalized, which could be within the next week, the minister said.
Although he did say part of the deal was the company guaranteeing the 275 jobs at the mill. The mill is expected to start up in October.
“(The Birla Group) is very keen to open the operation up again as quickly as possible. The unions have ratified their agreement in a strong fashion,” Gravelle said.
A representative with the United Steelworkers Union spoke with CKPR Radio Thursday and said about 78 per cent of the union members voted in favour of the employment agreement.
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