Resolute to built new sawmill in Northwestern Ontario
Resolute Forest Products has announced the construction of a new sawmill in the area of Atikokan, Ont.
The project will involve the construction of a single line random length (16 feet) sawmill with an annual capacity of 150 million board feet. Approximately 90 people will be directly employed by the operation, and additional indirect positions will be created for hauling finished lumber and residual chips. Final site selection in the Atikokan area will be completed in the next few weeks, and construction is anticipated to begin in the spring, with completion targeted for early 2014. The capital cost of the project is estimated at $50 million.
"We believe in our solid wood business and we’re taking action to grow and improve it. The new random length sawmill will complement our existing lumber product mix in Ontario and will allow Resolute to improve its product offering to customers in central Canada and key markets in the United States," stated Richard Garneau, president and CEO. "We are particularly excited about the active involvement of First Nations in the project and the opportunity for shared economic benefit that this represents."
When the Atikokan project is complete and the Company’s upgraded Ignace facility re-opens, Resolute will have three modern sawmills in Northwestern Ontario, with a combined production capacity approaching approximately 600 million board feet. In addition to producing lumber, the sawmills will also contribute to the long-term competitiveness of the Company’s pulp and paper operations in Thunder Bay through the supply of residual chips, as well as support efforts to reposition the currently indefinitely idled pulp mill in Fort Frances.
Today’s announcement was welcomed by Ontario Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle. "This is extremely good news for the economy in Northwestern Ontario, and specifically the Atikokan area. I am particularly pleased to see Resolute’s proactive effort to involve First Nations in a manner that creates opportunities and shared benefit. Our Ministry has worked hard with First Nations and municipalities to increase opportunities for direct involvement in the rebounding forestry sector, and today’s announcement is a real indicator of the progress we have made," said Minister Gravelle. "We welcome the additional investment by Resolute in Ontario. Over the past 18 months, the Company has announced over C$175 million of investments in the province, and I am certainly encouraged that a new sawmill in Atikokan could potentially make a positive contribution as Resolute continues to look at viable options for its Fort Frances pulp mill."
"This is great news for our community and the surrounding area. These jobs will be critically important in providing economic stability for our region," added Atikokan mayor Dennis Brown.