Resolute Forest Products Ltd. closed the former Bowater-Mersey paper mill near Liverpool last year. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia government is selling, scrapping and demolishing portions of the old Bowater paper mill outside Liverpool, but the process is running behind schedule after crews uncovered unexpected asbestos.

It’s not clear yet whether Nova Scotia will make or lose money as it proceeds to sell off portions of the old newsprint mill.

“I’m expecting that it’s going to be close to a wash. I don't expect there will be great financial gain or great losses at end of the day,” said Joel MacLean, chief operating officer at Nova Scotia Lands Inc.

Last year the NDP government spent $118 million buying the mill’s assets, primarily 220,000 hectares of woodlands.

Late last week the government asked for proposals to sell off many remaining assets and to demolish 16 structures.

In the spring the province said the demolition would be completed by December. But now demos will start in December and finish by the end of April, at the earliest.

MacLean blames the delay on more asbestos than they anticipated for.

“That was by far the largest issue that we had to confront. There was some lead paint issues that we dealt with, PCB ballast. A lot of the standard demolition-type debris that you have to deal with,” MacLean said.

The province budgeted $6.6 million on wind-up costs. They say that remains on target.

Portions of the operation will remain open as a demonstration centre for forestry and bioenergy projects.

Officials say the demolition and scrap work should not interfere with the opening of a biofuel plant on site set for February.

The province said it will award the tenders this month.