The town is continuing to work with a prospective buyer for the local pulp and paper mill—and is hopeful they'll make an offer to Resolute Forest Products in the coming months.
“The Town of Fort Frances has been working with Repap Resources Group providing any kind of information and documentation that they've requested, including assessment values, labour force information, lots of information on grants and program for industry,” local economic development consultant Tannis Drysdale told town council in verbal report at Monday night's regular meeting.
“And then, of course, introductions to various government agencies,” she added.
“Repap is working diligently to acquire the information that they need to assure themselves that they fully understand the operations that will be here in Fort Frances, and will be presenting Resolute with an offer to purchase we expect in the coming months,” Drysdale later noted.
She said Repap intends to make packing grade and extensible sack kraft.
“This is a type of paper that could be used to make cement bags or sugar bags,” Drysdale noted.
“It's type of paper that's created that can grow as items are put into them, that has some flexibility,” she explained.
This product is not competitive with Resolute Forest Product's current offerings.
Drysdale said the restart of the mill would support 320 direct jobs being created for Rainy River District.
It also will result in $91 million in direct economic activity and support an additional 350 jobs—all of which will provide taxes and economic growth, she added.
Repap Resources Group also is qualified to start up and run the mill, Drysdale stressed.
She noted Repap is a consortium led by Sean Twomey, former vice-president of business development with Quebecor and CAO/CFO of Quebecor World Latin America, and has managed numerous manufacturing start-ups.
Repap's management team of six industry executives, including Twomey, collectively has 180 years of experience in the forestry and paper industry.
Among them is John Harrison, a former mill manager here, with 34 years of experience in the pulp and paper sector.
Repap has access to funds through two major investment partners—one from Canada, the other from the U.S.
The first is Derek Cathcart, a former vice-president of TD Bank and former vice-president of Abitibi-Consolidated.
His experience includes project financing for several paper companies, mergers and acquisitions for Abitibi, Tembec, Canfor, and others, and advisory services to Kensington Capital and the Ontario Finance Authority.
The second is 4Front Capital Partners, an independent investment bank dedicated to helping corporate clients accelerate their business growth.
The members are of good standing with the Private Capital Markets Association of Canada.
Total investment in the Repap project is $91 million (Cdn.)