Resolute Forest Products says "critical areas' of its idled pulp and paper mill in Fort Frances will be heated this winter.

The mill was shut down in January and a recent attempt to sell it fell through. On Saturday, Unifor (the union representing laid-off workers), issued a news release saying arrangements had been made for Resolute to heat the mill this winter. 

Jerry Dias

Unifor national president Jerry Dias says talks between the union, the government and the company resulted in Resolute's decision to keep the mill heated this winter. (Adam Burns/CBC)

"We're very pleased that a short-term solution has been found," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "Protecting this mill while we determine its future was an essential first step."

There were fears that the cold weather would damage equipment in the mill beyond repair and make it unsellable. 

Seth Kursman

Resolute spokesperson Seth Kursman says costs to keep the Fort Frances site "heated and lit" were $17.5 million over the last two years. (Resolute Forest Products)

Resolute spokesperson Seth Kursman confirmed to CBC News on Sunday that "critical areas of the mill will be heated."

Kursman said it has cost Resolute $17.5 million to keep the site "heated and lit" during the last two years while it was in "asset protection mode."

Unifor said it believes the forest industry is in recovery and and expressed gratitude that the Fort Frances mill will not be abandoned.

"We would like to thank Resolute, a leader in the industry, for their commitment to protecting the mill and its equipment and for their cooperation in ongoing efforts to find a buyer for the mill," Dias said. "We are also grateful to the provincial government for the important role it is playing to secure a future for the mill."