Baldacci meets with Domtar officials on future of Baileyville mill

Posted May 07, 2009, at 9:44 p.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — The governor met with Domtar Corp. officials Thursday to talk about the future of the pulp mill in Baileyville.

“It was a good meeting and the discussions included the possible redevelopment of the mill,” said David Farmer, Gov. John Baldacci’s press secretary.

Farmer said the company is looking at several options and hopes to have a plan in place within six to 12 months. “The company told the governor that its goal is to see the facility reopened, and the governor believes that Domtar is working diligently to do just that,” the press secretary added.

A redevelopment of the mill will not happen overnight, Farmer said. “Some of the potential options would be to open it back in its current form or legacy form or to find new options for this facility,” he said.

Michel Marcouiller, senior manager for corporate communications in Montreal, said, “We are … trying to have a continued and positive relationship with the state of Maine, and the governor and this meeting was part of that. More specifically beyond that we provided an update on our efforts to address the issue of the closed fa-cility in Baileyville. And we pledged to keep the governor and his staff informed and work cooperatively with them.”

Asked about the redevelopment plans mentioned by the governor’s press secretary, Marcouiller said he was unable to elaborate.

No potential investors for the mill attended the meeting Thursday, according to Farmer. He said the governor had met with possible investors several weeks ago but nothing substantial came of the meeting.

“There is no deal, there is nothing like that,” he said, “but people have expressed an interest. At this point it is too early to say what their real interest level is. It was a preliminary meeting.”

Farmer said the governor’s meeting with Domtar officials went well. “The governor believes that the company is working in good faith to try and make something happen there,” he said.

Although Baldacci wants to see the mill reopen, it doesn’t appear that will happen anytime soon.

“We will continue to push to try to make something happen, but I don’t want to build up false hopes; it is going to take time,” Farmer said. “It is all preliminary at this point but there are real opportunities.”

In March the Montreal-based company announced it was shutting down its Baileyville pulp mill indefinitely. On Tuesday more than 300 people, carrying their personal belongings, left the mill for the last time.

bdncalais@myfairpoint.net

454-8228

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