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Fort Frances mill equipment sale set for August

Demolition of the former Resolute Forest Products mill could follow
Fort Frances mill 2
The former Resolute paper mill still dominates the skyline of Fort Frances, Ont. (Tbnewswatch file)

Riversedge Developments has hired an international appraisal and auction company to sell the machinery and equipment at the Fort Frances paper mill.

This will pave the way for potential demolition.

Toronto-based Corporate Assets Inc. will hold a four-day auction of the mill assets beginning Aug. 31, 2020.

On its website, the company described the auction as a "multi-million-dollar" event.

A partial list of the equipment includes three paper machines, a complete pulp mill, an assortment of machining and fabricating equipment, rolling stock and a wastewater treatment facility.

Corporate Assets Inc. said the equipment must be removed by Oct. 1.

Riversedge acquired the mill from Resolute Forest Products in July 2019.

The company's asset manager in Fort Frances, Mitch Lepage, said Riversedge is still working on plans for the property once the machinery is removed from the buildings, and is not ready yet to make a public announcement.

"We're selling real estate outside the mill property. The stuff inside is all part of the demo plan," he said Monday.

Lepage said "as opposed to an idled mill doing nothing, it's going to be changing into 'something'. We're working diligently on what that could be, but nothing is formalized at the moment that I can divulge."

Riversedge announced in August 2019 that it was exploring the establishment of a large-scale cannabis production facility on the mill site.

Lepage, however, said that project is on hold while the company investigates other options.

He said he hopes a decision can be announced before the end of the year.

Fort Frances Mayor June Caul said the town will work closely with Riversedge to ensure demolition happens in the right way.

"We'll certainly be on top of everything to make sure that permits are adhered to and that the site is cleaned up well, and not left like it has in other places, for sure," Caul said.

She said she has no concerns at the moment, and trusts that Riversedge will meet its obligations to the community.