The revival of a pulp mill in Thurso, Outaouais, is costing taxpayers more and more. The Legault government is reinjecting $8.2 million into the project, which has already received $8 million in 2019.
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The aid granted to the British Columbia company Fortress, owner of the facilities, was confirmed in an order adopted on December 14, but published only yesterday.
“The loan granted to Fortress will allow the assets to be maintained for the period necessary to find a buyer,” explained Mathieu St-Amand, spokesperson for the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
No less than $107 million since 2010
In October 2019, the government granted an initial loan of $8 million to Fortress for the same reason. The mill had just suspended its activities due to the deterioration of the pulp market, which had resulted in the loss of some 300 jobs.
Since 2010, Quebec has provided no less than $107 million in financial support for Thurso facilities.
Fortress has been insolvent since the end of 2019. Faced with the company's collapse, the government began looking for a buyer for the plant, but the search yielded nothing.
Last month Mr Fitzgibbon announced that he was abandoning the idea of taking over pulp production at Thurso.
"There was a buyer who asked us to invest a lot of money, which I'm not ready to do," he told Radio-Canada.
Four projects are currently on the table for the plant: three concern the manufacture of wood pellets (heating) and the other, the production of biochar (charcoal for agricultural use).
One of the pellet projects is led by the Montreal company Plant-E.
"This plant is a focal point of a region that needs revitalization and the government is committed to finding solutions," continued Mr. St-Amand.