Longlac mill reopening still in the works

Recent mill reopenings in northwestern Ontario have some people in Greenstone wondering when their turn might come.
Residents of Greenstone are wondering when the Longlac sawmill might re-start. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

Recent mill re-openings in northwestern Ontario have some people in Greenstone wondering when their turn might come.

Residents of Longlac have heard rumblings for months that Buchanan Lumber is trying to re-open its sawmill.

Longlac sawmill owner Ken Buchanan has told CBC News he's tried to get a wood supply for the mill for the past five months. But Natural Resources minister David Orazietti said Buchanan hasn't completed all the paperwork.

Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti. (Supplied)

"Not everything that needs to be done at this point has been done to issue that facility licence,” David Orazietti said. “But, we are continuing to work with Mr. Buchanan."

Orazietti said the province wants to make sure any crown timber allocated to a mill is used, and doesn't get tied up.

“This mill has faced some challenges, as has Mr. Buchanan, in the industry,” he said. “We need to be sure that an allocation of crown fibre to a particular mill will be put to use."

The former Long Lake Forest Products was dissolved after going bankrupt. Ken Buchanan is working to re-open the Longlac mill after the Liberal government forgave the company a $24-million loan. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

Orazietti added he will work with Buchanan to get Longlac Lumber up and running as quickly as possible. However, the province wants to learn from its past mistakes and ensure it only gives wood to mills that are viable.

"The last thing we want to do is see crown fibre tied up or allocated to a mill that won't be using it, or there are still challenges."

Buchanan also has a mill in Nakina that he is reportedly trying to re-open, known as Nakina Lumber Inc.

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