Talks on pulp mill permit in mid-July

NEGOTIATIONS with two potential buyers of the former Gunns pulp mill permit will restart in mid-July.

Last month receivers KordaMentha announced a deal to sell the failed timber company's hardwood plantation estate to Sydney-based forestry investment company New Forests for about $330 million.

The company was not interested in the pulp mill site and permits, but KordaMentha has not given up hope of selling the asset to a separate buyer.

KordaMentha spokesman Michael Smith said talks on the pulp mill had been put on hold until the sale of the trees had been finalised with New Forests.

The deal is expected to be formally sealed by the courts on July 17, allowing negotiations with two possible pulp mill buyers to continue.

"Both sides are ready to negotiate straight away," Mr Smith said. "I think we'll find out pretty early on which is the more serious."

The task of selling the controversial Tamar Valley mill is much harder now that the trees to supply it belong to a different company.

Earlier this week, Forestry Minister Paul Harriss and State Growth Minister Matthew Groom met New Forests management.

Mr Harriss said it was good news that the company planned to grow the plantation and woodchipping business.

"New Forests will not only secure ongoing employment for 32 direct employees and more than 150 harvesting and haulage contractors, it will aim to more than double the existing output by capitalising on new market opportunities in Asia," Mr Harriss said.


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