Nova Scotia

Bowater mill to close for one week

The Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. mill in Brooklyn will shut down for one week later this month, and may close for a longer period in December as the company examines the mill's future.

Economic future being examined

The Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd. mill in Brooklyn will shut down for one week later this month, and may close for a longer period in December as the company examines the mill's future.

"Our employees were informed this week," Abitibi spokesman Pierre Choquette said Tuesday.

He said the downtime, scheduled to begin on Nov. 14, is in response to several factors.

"It's mainly due to market conditions. We are looking for the Nova Scotia mill to address various issues relating to cost, including power rates and labour costs going forward," Choquette said from Abitibi's Quebec headquarters.

He said the company is also considering more downtime from Dec. 19 to Jan. 2, 2012.

"The management committee is analyzing cost structures at the mill," Choquette said.

The announcement comes a week after Bowater Mersey appeared before government regulators in Halifax seeking a discount on power rates. They want a special five-year discounted rate for electricity.

Company executives told the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board that a break on rates was key to the survival of the pulp and paper mill. But, the break on rates would force other electricity consumers in Nova Scotia to pay more for power.

Abitibi is now negotiating with the province of Quebec to re-open two idle mills in that province.

Choquette would not comment on whether the fate of the Nova Scotia operation is tied to the re-opening of a Quebec mill.

The Brooklyn mill employs about 300 people.

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