The sale of the former Elk Falls Mill site to an Alberta company was announced Friday.

It’s official, the former mill property sold last Friday

Possible liquid natural gas plant for Elk Falls site?

The new owners of the Elk Falls mill site have yet to make a formal announcement, but there’s already speculation it could become a liquified natural gas (LNG) plant.

“We can’t offer a lot of details right now,” said David Erdman of Quicksilver Resources. “Our intent is to start a feasibility study on suitable uses. It could include LNG, working with potential partners.”

On Friday, Catalyst Paper announced it had finally sold the former pulp and paper mill site to to Quicksilver Resources of Canada Inc. for $8.6 million.

Quicksilver Resources is based in Fort Worth, Texas, while its wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary is located in Calgary. The private company has about 500 employees in Canada and the U.S., and explores for, produces and acquires natural gas and oil reserves.

“I think it’s excellent news,” said Vic Goodman, executive director of Rivercorp, Campbell River’s economic development agency. “We’ll be working with (Quicksilver) to re-establish the industrial tax base – it’s time to put that valuable property to good use.”

Goodman wouldn’t say what the 400-acre industrial site will be used for, only that Quicksilver will be releasing more information in the coming weeks.

However, with a plentiful supply of relatively cheap natural gas and a deep-water port, rumours abound Elk Falls could become an LNG plant.

That would hardly be a surprise. There are already six proposals to build LNG plants in Kitimat and Prince Rupert, and last month the province announced there are proposals for another four plants in B.C.

Building a new LNG plant at Elk Falls would cost billions. For example, in Melford, Nova Scotia, the Indian company H-Energy is planning to build a $3-billion LNG plant and export terminal capable of exporting 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

According to Goodman, Rivercorp has been assisting Quicksilver since last fall. That’s about the time when Catalyst’s tentative sales agreement with an Alberta investor, Harold Jahn, began to crumble.

In a phone interview Tuesday from his office in Fort Worth, Erdman said Quicksilver would need to form partnerships and a consortium if it pursues the LNG route.

He also said the company will soon be in contact with the province to discuss site remediation and “will engage the community” about potential uses for the Elk Falls site.

“We have some great opportunities,” said Erdman.

Elk Falls opened as a pulp and paper mill in 1952 and was permanently closed by Catalyst Paper in 2010.

Quick facts:

  • The property sold for $8.6 million.
  • Sale of the approximate 1,200-acre parcel includes a fully serviced, 400-acre industrial site and adjacent property located just north of Campbell River.
  • Quicksilver Resources focuses on shallow unconventional reservoirs such as fractured shales and coal beds that will not produce at commercial flow rates unless the formation is successfully stimulated.
  • Quicksilver Resources Inc. common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “KWK.”
  • For more information about Quicksilver Resources, visit www.qrinc.com