NEW GLASGOW – The owner of Maritime Steel and Foundry is hoping a meeting Thursday will produce an agreement for the province to provide the idle plant with a $1 million loan to improve its cash flow.
Abbas Jafarnia says plant workers have invited the government to a meeting to outline how the loan would help the plant reopen and fill orders already on its books.
At press time Tuesday, there was no confirmation that government officials would be attending. “I’m hoping we can arrange (the government presence) at the meeting,” Jafarnia said.
He shared letters of support from local business groups and customers and a folder filled with more than 800 names petitioning the province to loan him the money.
Customers filing letters of support are based in London, Ont. and Edmonton, Alta, as well as Kansas and Kentucky.
Some municipal councillors have also come on board, he said.
“I have public support and union, business and municipal support,” he said. “How difficult is it for a government to spend $1 million? I guess the only way to convince them to help is public pressure.”
He said the government is willing to support the NewPage mill in Point Tupper to get part of it operating again with loans and other contributions that amount to $500,000 for every worker employed there if it opens.
The province has maintained that Jafarnia has not produced a plan indicating his plant is viable.
“That’s not risky, but $1 million is risky?” he said. “They’re not following the same rules all the time.”
While the prospects of a meeting are developing, Jafarnia said one of two groups interested in buying the plant’s equipment has made an offer, although he did not say how much.