Michael Gravelle says he’s optimistic a buyer for Terrace Bay Pulp will be found.
Gravelle, the Minister of Natural Resources and the MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North, said he's disappointed the troubled mill entered CCAA creditor protection Jan. 25. The province is listed as the mill’s largest creditor, owed more than $24 million.
But he’s expecting a lot of interest in the mill, although he couldn’t say who those potential buyers might be.
“Obviously that is being done on a very confidential basis and it has to remain that way. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to be getting into any more details,” he said Friday afternoon during an interview with Dougall Media reporters.
Getting 350 people back to work under new ownership at the mill is the province’s top priority, Gravelle said.
That scenario would not only be good for Terrace Bay, but for Ontario’s taxpayers.
When Ontario gave the company the money more than a year ago, Gravelle said it wasn’t so much a loan as it was recognition that Terrace Bay Pulp was and is a valuable asset as the only operating pulp mill between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.
For that reason, he's confident there will be a number of serious buyers.
An eight-page list of creditors was posted by the CCAA monitor Ernst and Young earlier this week. On top of the money owed to the province, another $41.4 million dollars Canadian is owed to companies right across the country.
The overwhelming majority of the money owed by Terrace Bay Pulp is to businesses in Thunder Bay and along the north shore.
A number of operations in the city are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The pulp mill also owes another U.S.$1.5-million to companies based in the United States.
Not included on the list is the Municipality of Terrace Bay, which is owed more than $500,000 in back taxes.