The Nova Scotia government is lending $75 million to Northern Pulp in Abercrombie, Pictou County, to help the company buy woodlands that will ensure a supply for the pulp and paper mill, and protect jobs.
"Northern Pulp is now taking control of its own destiny," Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris said Monday. "The company is purchasing 475,000 acres [1.92 square kilometres] of forest land from Neenah Paper."
When Northern Pulp bought the mill from Neenah Paper in 2008, they didn't buy the timber rights. They were given rights to cut Neenah wood, but there was no guarantee that would last forever.
"A concern that we had is that these lands might have gotten sold to companies who would be less committed and less interested in the province and could, indeed, have put this wood resource offshore," Wayne Gosse, chief financial officer of Northern Pulp, said Monday.
The government said the deal protects nearly 300 jobs inside the mill, as well as the hundreds of spinoff jobs. The mill is also one of Pictou County's largest taxpayers.
"It's a good news story. It gives the workers at the pulp mill some security, it gives the spinoffs from the pulp mill great security. Overall, it helps the economics of the County of Pictou," Warden Ron Bailee said.
The forest industry said the investment is important news.
"The key to investing in companies like Northern Pulp is the key to maintaining both a strong industry, as well as a strong renewable forest, " said Cassie Turple of Ledwidge Lumber in Enfield.
Ledwidge Lumber is a family-owned company that employs about 56 people.
Once Northern Pulp buys the rights to the wood, it will sell 22 hectares of that land back to the province. It will be part of the 15 per cent of public lands the province promised it would protect.