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Trading on Active Energy Group temporarily suspended until status of forestry permits confirmed for Northern Peninsula

Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne says while the debate around crab prices persists, a 2014 independent report dispelled much of the controversy that surround particularly the 4R region.
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne says he didn't issue the permits. - SaltWire Network file photo

Company and department minister express different views on whether permits have been approved in forestry management areas 17 and 18

Shares in Active Energy have been suspended from trading on AIM, a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, pending clarification on whether forestry permits have been issued in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Monday, Nov. 19, the company announced the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources had approved its subsidiary, Timberlands Newfoundland, for two five-year permits in forestry management areas 17 and 18 on the Northern Peninsula.

With each permit, the company would have an annual allowable cut of 100,000 cubic metres.

The timber woud be used for their CoalSwitch product - a biomass-based fuel used as an alternative to coal.

The stock saw a 26 per cent increase shortly after the press release was issued by the company.

However, on Wednesday, Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne contacted The Northern Pen by phone to deny the information.

According to Byrne, no timber permits had been issued.

“We have informed the company that pending the resolution of certain other matters, that we’re in a position now to look at finalizing arrangements,” he told The Northern Pen. “But those arrangements are not yet finalized, and no commercial permits have been issued to date. It would be by my hand that those permits are issued, and my hand has not signed such deals.”

On Thursday, the directors of Active Energy requested a temporary suspension in trading, pending clarification of whether commercial timber permits had been issued, as the company announced on Monday.

For the company’s part, it says in a news release that “this press speculation is without foundation as (the company) has received all relevant documentation from the Ministry and is looking forward to developing the relationship further.”

The release added that members of Active Energy’s management team are currently in Newfoundland to meet the relevant officials.

“Further announcements regarding the status of the commercial timber permits will be made as appropriate,” it continued.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Byrne says he can only speculate there was confusion within the company.

“We have been dealing directly with the president. The president may or may not have communicated certain things to the CEO or Board of Directors,” he said.

“The communication that was made, was made from the board of directors. There may have been – I can’t say for certain – some miscommunication or error in communication between the president and the CEO.”

“We reported to the company that an error appears to have been made.”

Byrne says he doesn’t expect the public confusion to have any impact on the continuing negotiations.

The Northern Pen contacted Active Energy CEO Michael Rowan for comment yesterday but has not yet been given a response.

Further updates will be provided as this story develops.

EARLIER STORY: https://www.northernpen.ca/business/update-fisheries-and-land-resource-minister-denies-timber-permits-have-been-issued-261472/

Note: this story has been updated with files from The Telegram.

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