The owners of the former Domtar sawmill in White River say they will reopen the mill by the fall.

Stakeholders involved in White River Forest Products Limited made the announcement Friday and said work on restarting the mill has already begun.

The mill shut down in 2007, throwing almost 250 workers off the job.


White River Forest Products Limited purchased the Domtar's mill assets in 2009 and secured a sustainable forest licence from the province the following year. (Supplied)

A single shift is expected to start in the fall and a second shift could follow in the spring of 2014.  A company news release indicated that up to 180 direct and indirect jobs will be created if the mill becomes fully operational. 

Frank Dottori, chairman and CEO of White River Forest Products, said the company has formed a partnership with the communities of White River and the Pic Mobert First Nation.

The company is a privately held corporation founded and co-owned by the two communities and by two private shareholders, Dottori and David Butler. Dottori is the founder and retired CEO of Tembec.

Cogen facility on site

WRFPL purchased the mill assets from Domtar in 2009 and secured a sustainable forest licence from the province the following year.

"Our goal was to protect the mill from a wrecking ball and preserve the wood allocation needed to reopen the mill once the right investment partner was found and wood markets recovered," said White River Mayor Angelo Bazzoni. "And we did just that."

Pic Mobert Chief Johanna Desmoulin said her community will get an economic boost.

"We look forward to our band members benefitting from the work that will be created by these operations that are located within our traditional territory," she said.

The White River site has a 7.5 mega watt cogeneration facility that will use biomass produced by the mill. The company plans to reactivate the cogen plant in 2014.

Bazzoni acknowledged the contributions of WRFPL's founding president, Jeffrey Butler, who passed away suddenly last year.

"Jeff's tireless efforts laid the groundwork for the wonderful developments that are now occurring," Bazzoni said.