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Study shows Northern Pulp economic impact

September 20 2015

Carol Dunn

The New Glasgow News


ABERCROMBIE – Northern Pulp recently installed a new precipitator to help make its emissions cleaner, and now it’s trying to tidy up its image.

Due to concerns in the community about the company’s impact on the environment, Northern Pulp wants people to know how much the company contributes to the local and provincial economies.

While general manager Bruce Chapman admits the mill has had “rough patches” over the four decades it’s been operating, he said Northern Pulp is committed to being environmentally responsible, while also providing employment.

“We at Northern Pulp believe we can have both jobs and the environment,” he said at an event at the Abercrombie fire hall on Thursday to release the results of a study on the company’s economic impact on the province.

An in-depth analysis conducted by Gardner Pinfold – a firm that specializes in economic studies – found that the company is a significant contributor to the economy of rural Nova Scotia, creating well-paying jobs in areas that typically see high unemployment.

Northern Pulp itself directly employs 339 people, and spends $315 million annually. For each Northern Pulp job, five additional ones are generated, including wood harvesters, sawmill employees and energy supply company workers.

“It’s amazing how far the reach is for this operation,” said Jeff Bishop, executive director of the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia. “And we need to remind Nova Scotians just how important that is.”

He said Northern Pulp is an important part of the economy, with 15 to 20 sawmills depending on Northern Pulp to buy their wood chips, and keeping harvesters and woodlot owners in business.

“As one of the largest forest industry operations in Nova Scotia, Northern Pulp’s economic impact reaches far beyond the borders of Pictou County. Northern Pulp is a vital partner in the supply of wood fibre that keeps out industry moving forward every day – employing thousands of Nova Scotians,” said Bishop.

During the study release gathering, Pictou County municipal councillor Robert Parker, who is a business and woodlot owner, said area residents are concerned about air and water pollution from the mill. “I think we have to find a way that people in Pictou County can trust and believe in the figures that are coming to them all the time.

“There’s been a lot of effort to restore that trust. We have to know the true figures. It’s very important that we keep these jobs.”

He said a lot of people tell him the mill should relocate. “But obviously if we did that, we’d be in bad shape. We need to work with our companies to make sure they stay here, but we also need to hold them accountable.”

Ben Chisholm of pipefitters union United Association Local 244 said hundreds of millions of dollars go to the construction industry from Northern Pulp. “We can’t afford to shut down that mill. They volunteered to clean it up – the government should back off.”


Study results:

Northern Pulp’s operations directly affect and benefit more than 1,300 companies.

More than $10 million in provincial and federal tax revenue is generated by the mill, its suppliers and spin-off industries.

Up to one in 12 Pictou County jobs are tied to the pulp mill.

Northern Pulp is one of the largest shippers with the Halifax Port Authority.

The mill produces and exports more than 280,000 tonnes of kraft pulp each year, which is used to make products such as tissues, paper towel, toilet paper and photocopy paper.

The company manages 250,000 hectares of forest land and a tree nursery that produces six million seedlings annually.

Northern Pulp purchases more than $85 million worth of wood products a year, and is the largest supplier of sawlogs to provincial sawmills.

The mill purchases more than 90 per cent of the wood chips produced in the province, receiving an average of 120 trucks of wood fibre each day.


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