06/05/2012 07:49 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

Future of Newfoundland pulp mill concerning, says Kruger CEO

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The CEO of Montreal-based Kruger says he is "very, very concerned" about the future of his company's pulp and paper mill in western Newfoundland.

Joseph Kruger appeared grim as he emerged from a nearly two-hour meeting Monday with Premier Kathy Dunderdale in St. John's.

Kruger told reporters he's discouraged.

Unionized workers at the mill have rejected the company's proposal to repay a deficit in the pension plan over 10 years instead of the normal period of five years.

Daniel Archambault, an executive vice-president with Kruger, says the company will talk to the workers about how it plans to assess the viability of the mill, which he says is on fragile ground.

Dunderdale says the government can't step in until the workers and the company settle their issues regarding the pension and the operation's sustainability.