Local leader of Australian political party Palmer United says he met with former Gunns chief Gay to discuss possible Tasmanian pulp mill in Hampshire, which Gay said he favors over Tamar Valley site; Greens senator says his party would consider it

LOS ANGELES , November 8, 2013 () – Former Gunns Ltd. chief John Gay is “very supportive” of building a Tasmanian pulp mill in Hampshire rather than in the Tamar Valley, said a local leader of the Australian political party Palmer United, reported The Advocate on Nov. 8.

Palmer United’s leader in Braddon, Kevin Morgan, said he had met with Gay twice and spoke with him on the phone about the possibility for a pulp mill in Tasmania, including the project’s lack of “social license” in the Tamar Valley.

Barring something unforeseen, Palmer United would favor a policy focusing on a closed-loop and chlorine-free pulp mill in Hampshire, he said, noting that investors would be sought, The Advocate reported.

The Tamar project is probably not “saleable” because the community in that northern part of Tasmania is not going to “change its mind,” Morgan said, referring to the staunch opposition the proposed project generated in that region.

Rumors about the project have circulated, including one in which Palmer United leader and business entrepreneur Clive Palmer would invest in a mill project, said Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, reported The Advocate.

Whish-Wilson said that the project “stinks” because of the many “backroom deals” surrounding it, and he called for the facts to be disclosed. He said the Greens would consider any new proposal for the pulp mill project.

Morgan said that he had not approached Palmer about being an investor in the potential mill project, and a spokesperson for Palmer said the notion of him investing in a pulp mill had not been considered, The Advocate reported.

Among the assets of failed timber company Gunns that have been put up for sale is the permit to build the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, which is in northern Tasmania. Hampshire is south of Burnie.

Earlier this year, Gay pleaded guilty to insider trading of Gunns shares and was fined AU$50,000 (US$46,933), reported The Advocate.

The primary source of this article is The Advocate, Burnie, Tasmania, on Nov. 8, 2013.

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