April 22, 2020

Filing Type:

Trustee: PwC

Trustee Counsel: Fasken

Applicant: Province of BC



Neucel Specialty Cellulose Ltd., which owns a pulp mill in Port Alice, British Columbia, was adjudged bankrupt and placed in receivership on April 22 on application by the Province of BC, owed approximately $13.1 million. The company had purchased the assets of the Port Alice mill for $1 with an investment plan of $40 million before September 2007. In 2011, Fulida (Canada) Holdings purchased Neucel and announced an upgrade project totalling $33.9 million, although this project was never commenced. In 2015, the company announced a six-month curtailment of the Port Alice mill. However, since then, the mill has not returned to production status and the last annual report the company filed was in 2018. In early 2019, the company instructed the remaining maintenance workers at the Port Alice mill to vacate the site. After the affected workers contacted the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy ("ENV"), it conducted an on-site chemical hazard assessment and notified the company that it would take certain spill response actions, which cost over $11.9 million to conduct. The actions included removing over 855,000 litres of 10% Spent Sulphite Liquor, a hazardous sulphite by-product of the pulping process, removing over 437,000 litres of ammonium bisulphate and facilitating the removal by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission of 8 radioactive nuclear sources from the mill site. Despite ENV's efforts, various concerns remain. The company's employees continue to cause environmental damage and the company additionally appears to have taken steps to dissipate its assets. PwC is the bankruptcy trustee and court-appointed receiver. Counsel is Fasken for PwC and Pacific Rim Law for Fulida