Government supports pellet projects

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Holson Forest Products is involved in discussions with Rentech Inc., minister says

As it has in the past with a $10-million expenditure, the province will do all that it can to support the community of Roddickton-Bide Arm and Holson Forest Products, Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said.

“We want the forest industry to be alive and well on the Northern Peninsula, and we want people working, so anything we can do to support that we’ll do, within reason, obviously,” Dalley said.

“They’re important for the Northern Peninsula and they’re important for the forest industry, so we’ve always had on our radar to find new opportunities and new options for them.”

Dalley was reacting to a letter he received last week from Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of the northeast Northern Peninsula community.

In the letter, Fitzgerald asked the minister for help for her community, specifically for the Holson Forest Products Ltd. pellet plant.

She told The Western Star the letter was prompted by reports the province is spending money on building a pellet plant and improving infrastructure in the central region, while the plant in her community sits idle.

Dalley said officials with his department have contacted Fitzgerald and explained some things about that process to her.

One key thing is that Holson is a part of discussions with the pro­vince and Rentech Inc. regarding fibre development in the province.

Rentech is the company that was selected for further discussions following the issuing of an expression of interest in developing the province’s fibre supply, particularly in central and what was expropriated from Abitibi.

Dalley said there has been no definite proposal submitted or funding committed with regards to central.

“At this point it’s still open for discussion and negotiation,” Dalley said, adding the same goes for Rentech and Holson.

“Full details of that certainly are not public because there’s nothing finalized.”

Dalley couldn’t say if Rentech is looking to work with or take over Holson.

“That remains to be seen as to exactly how that will work, but I do know that Holson and Rentech are certainly having significant discussion and I think both would be players in any future opportunities that are there.”

As for the mayor’s letter, Dalley said he appreciates Fitzgerald’s interest.

“That’s what we want — community leaders (who are) keenly interested in developing their communities. She’s obviously advocating for her community and I certainly support that.”

Dalley said he is open to meeting with Fitzgerald and trying to arrange a meeting with Rentech for her to get a better understanding of what’s happening.

Meanwhile, Todd May, general manager of the Holson pellet plant, told The Western Star that the company is working on something, but he is not in a position to comment at this time.

The Western Star

Organizations: Rentech Inc., Holson Forest Products

Geographic location: Northern Peninsula, Western Star

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