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Temagami still awaits final word from Pyrok.

Temagami still awaits final word from Pyrok

There is still no definite word on the fate of the oft-delayed Pyrok mill proposed for Temagami.

"The only thing I can say is it's still alive and doing well, but I can't elaborate because there are critical things going on," said Don Bakich, chief executive officer of Pyrok North America Inc.

Bakich declined to elaborate on what those critical matters were. However, he said that it is hoped an announcement will be made shortly on the mill proposal, possibly by mid-March.

The proposal was first announced in January 1990, and initial plans had called for the operation to be running by April of last year.

The mill would produce sheets of compressed wood and cement for the construction industry.

The announcement caused anticipation in the community which had been hard hit by the closure of the Sherman iron ore mine and the William Milne and Sons lumber mill, and the subsequent loss of hundreds of jobs.

Bakich said he could not really say how the delays are affecting the people of Temagami.

He explained that he could only speak for himself, and said the effort to get the mill established has been full of headaches and heartaches, peaks and valleys.

"I can imagine what the people are going through," he said. "All I can say is we are all doing our best."

Bakich said Pyrok North America has been trying for three years to make the project a reality.

The latest delay to the Pyrok proposal was caused by a change in ownership of the parent company, Pyrok Group PLC of Great Britain.

Bakich visited London before Christmas to update the new owners on the Temagami proposal, and again in late January for what he called discussions of corporate strategy.

During a telephone interview from Toronto, Bakich said he was not prepared to discuss the cost of the project.

However, previously published estimates placed the mill at between $9.2 million and $11.2 million.

Bakich did say that three shifts, totalling about 75 people, would be employed when the mill is in operation.

The Temagami proposal already has a commitment of $983,777 from the FedNor core industrial program, a $2-million loan commitment from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and a $1-million loan guarantee from the Northern Ontario Development Corporation.

Product from Pyrok's operation in Great Britain is sold in North America by MacMillan Bloedel Limited.

Despite the delays there is still confidence in Temagami that the project will eventually go ahead.

"The thing that is making us not give up is they've cut themselves such a good deal with the province and the feds," said Temagami Reeve Ron Prefasi.

It would only make good business sense to go ahead with the deal as it is set up, Prefasi said.

The Pyrok project is one of the initiatives conceived to give Temagami a more prosperous economic future, he added.

"We're still alive and well," Prefasi commented, adding that while there is concern about the future of Temagami, there is confidence that there is a future.

The reeve noted that contacts have been made with several other companies about the possibility of setting up operations in the township.

In addition, a go-ahead is anticipated this spring on the first stage of the construction of an airstrip.

A gravel runway is planned to be built with $650,000 in provincial and federal funding, and next year it will be paved.
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Title Annotation:proposed mill of Pyrok North America Inc.
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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