Two northwestern Ontario mill towns are hearing about some encouraging developments today.

The Buchanan group is starting up the Longlac Lumber Inc. mill, and there's a potential buyer for the Resolute kraft mill in Fort Frances.

Mill in Longlac

Residents of Greenstone have been wondering for months when the Longlac sawmill might re-start. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

In Greenstone, Buchanan Forest Products now has a licence from the province to re-start the Longlac Lumber mill. 

Longlac Lumber vice-president Susan Buchanan said the company will get its wood through the Terrace Bay pulp mill.

"The wood supply is directed to AV Terrace Bay and, under a wood exchange between them and us, we were able to get a wood supply so that we would have those saw logs, and then they would have the chips in return.”

Greenstone Mayor Renald Beaulieu called the news very good for Greenstone.

He said many residents have already put their names in for jobs: 50 to 60 people for the first of what could ultimately be three shifts at the Longlac mill.

Fort Frances mill ‘re-positioning’

In Fort Frances, mayor Roy Avis said a company he won't name yet has signed a letter of intent with Resolute.

“We were actually contacted by a buyer and arranged a meeting with local municipalities and ourselves. There is a signed letter of intent, and there is much more work to be done on this project.”

Avis added he may be able to say more to say in about a week.

A spokesperson for Expera — a specialty paper business in the US — won't confirm reports in the community that it is the interested party.

Addie Teeters, communications manager for the company, told CBC News it does not comment publicly about any potential business transactions.

Resolute Forest Products' director of communications Xavier Van Chau wrote in an email to CBC News that he was aware of the reports, but "it's premature for Resolute to comment on any transaction the company is exploring.”

Van Chau added the company is "actively pursuing" the re-positioning of the Fort Frances mill.