Port Hawkesbury Paper to demolish newsprint mill

October 5, 2015

By: The Chronicle Herald

Port Hawkesbury Paper’s old newsprint building will be torn down as the company moves forward with other ventures, including a proposed sugar extraction plant.

Company spokesman Marc Dube said there’s no reason to keep the shop because there has been no turnaround in the declining newsprint market.

“Every paper expert would be quick to tell you that the future of newsprint is not growing, and it is not going to grow,” Dube said Thursday.

“There’s certainly a lot less of it being used, and it’s been a steady decline.”

Dube said the company plans to have the building razed early next spring.

A contractor will dismantle the predominately steel structure and sell it for scrap metal.

Company officials held an auction this week and have entertained visits from other paper producers in an effort to sell off any remaining equipment.

“All the pieces of it are available for purchase, if someone had another mill operating the equipment and would be (able to) utilize them.”

Upon purchasing the mill for $33 million in 2012, with the help of a $124-million, provincial government subsidy package, Pacific West Commercial Corp. decided it would rely solely on the production’s high-gloss paper machine.

Since that time, the mill has started supplying waste wood to Nova Scotia Power’s biomass plant and company officials plans are looking into sugar extraction.

Sugars derived from hardwood would be used for non-food products such as biodegradable plastics.

Dube said research and technology institute FPInnovations is in the process of examining what to create with a byproduct known as lignin.

He said due to the need to find a market for the chemical compound, the project has likely been pushed back by about two years.

“That’s where the science is working today,” said Dube.

“It’s about 40 per cent sugar, 50 per cent lignin and 10 per cent would be waste that would go inside a boiler.”

He said, initially, the mill was looking into the creation of a demonstration plant, but he added that it is also now considering a full-scale operation.

“A demo plant could be here, but it also could be anywhere else in Canada. There’s lot of wood supply in most every province.

“We would like to have the demo plant and/or the full-scale plant here, but we’ve got to go through all the processes to make sure it’s going to be a success when we construct it.”

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