Mimizan, France


There are strong suspicions that the paper mill in Mimizan discharges polluting chemical substances into the ocean due to inadequate treatment of the water used in the paper manufacturing process. A Black Flag has been allocated to the affected beach for a long time, and this battle became a Keeper of the Coast case in 2008. Consequently, talks began between the different parties involved.

Over the past few years, Surfrider and the Keeper, Stéphanie (also co-representative of the SFE Nord Landes Chapter) have been able to join the biannual meetings at the paper mill, and have also entered into consultations with the fishermen's association. An agreement was reached on the need for water analyses at the outlet to determine any potential impacts caused after several years of discharges. This was a first step forward by the paper mill. Another proposition is under investigation, which is geared towards an analysis of the state of the fauna and flora.

If the Gaskogn Group, owner of the paper mill, is in good shape, significant improvement works will be carried out at the mill, including the installation of a biogas boiler.  A desirable second step would be to provide the area with a new sewage treatment plant to purify the water from the mill and other surrounding outlets and thus avoid any discharges that could be disastrous for the natural environment. Every other year, the mill suspends operations so that smaller rehabilitation works can be carried out.  The next closure is expected for April 2014 at the latest.

In the meantime, the Keeper participates in the biannual meetings organised by the paper mill with the different stakeholders as part of the dialogue process. The next meeting is scheduled for October 2013.

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