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Fortress mill in Thurso receives financial aid of up to $8.2 million

Fortress mill in Thurso receives financial aid of up to $8.2 million

9 January 2023 à 1:07 pm

The Government of Quebec has announced a new investment of up to $8.2 million for the Fortress mill in Thurso, which has been closed since 2019. This is not the first time that the Legault government has injected funds in this plant, which had received $8 million in 2019. The aid granted to Fortress, which still owns the facilities, was ratified in a decree on December 14, but published only on January 5.

Last month, the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, announced he was abandoning the idea of taking over pulp production from Thurso, saying the costs would be too high. According to reporting from the Journal de Montréal, four projects are currently on the table for the plant: three concern the manufacture of wood pellets (for heating) and the fourths, the production of biochar (charcoal for agricultural use).

A new project or the end?

The office of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, indicated last Thursday that the $8.2 million loan was part of the plan to maintain facilities in the waiting for one of the stimulus projects to come to fruition. According to reporting in Le Droit, the minister is now giving himself until June 2023 to convert the premises to bioenergy. If no project materializes by then, Quebec will definitely put an end to the efforts to revive the plant, he declared.

Repercussions for the forestry industry in the Pontiac?

The Government of Quebec has indicated that this plant is a focal point for the region of the MRC of Papineau. Reached by CHIP 101.9, MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller mentioned that she also believes that this plant is central, but for the entire Outaouais, and in order to advance certain files related to the forestry industry in the Pontiac, the matter of the Fortress plant must be settled.

“I think this is a positive announcement for the whole Outaouais. The file must be settled once and for all since the Government of Quebec has already indicated that this was the priority file related to the forestry industry in the Outaouais,” she said . “We also hope to see the Fortress [facility] revived and maybe even see collaborations between the different factories in the future.”

It should be noted that recently, the warden expressed her optimism for the forestry industry in the Pontiac, not only thanks to the announcement of the reopening of the Commonwealth Plywood in Rapides-des-Joachims, but she also hopes to see a new entrepreneur relaunch the Jovalco site located in Litchfield.