One of the biggest forestry contractors in Cape Breton is hiring and says he needs more workers in the woods and on machines now that the mill in Point Tupper is operating again.

Paul Delaney, owner and operator of Delaney and Son Pulpwood Ltd. in Cheticamp, said many of his workers moved out west when the former NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill announced it was shutting down last year.

"I think it's more for financial reasons," he told CBC News.

"They fell behind in their finances in the last year or so. I think they're just heading out there to try to recoup some of that and then hopefully come back here in a few years."

Delaney said he has 15 employees now and is looking to fill at least five vacancies.

He doesn't believe he'll have any trouble filling the jobs — at least 15 calls in the last few days.

The former NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill was shut down in September 2011, throwing 600 employees out of work and affecting more than 400 forestry workers.

After almost a year of negotiations, Pacific West Commercial Corp. agreed to buy the mill for $33 million last month and the mill — under the new name Port Hawkesbury Paper — resumed making paper with 260 employees.

"The 13 months that the mill was closed, some employees went out west and there's probably only one or two that might be coming back," Delaney said.

"The others are going to stay out there and actually, more just left recently to go out west, even after the mill announced that it was going to reopen."

Under the deal struck with Pacific West Commercial Corp. last month, the Nova Scotia government is providing a $124.5-million aid package on top of the $36.8 million it has spent keeping the mill in a so-called hot idle state.

The deal also includes an amended discount power rate agreement with Nova Scotia Power Inc. The mill is the utility's largest customer.