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Canada funding $22M for JD Irving clean energy project in New Brunswick

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Canada funding $22M for JD Irving clean energy project in New Brunswick

May 21, 2010 - 04:25
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UTOPIA, NB, May 21, 2010 (Press Release) -J.D. Irving Limited (JDI) will boost its environmental performance and contribution to a more sustainable pulp and paper industry in Canada with help from a significant investment by the Government of Canada, the Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway announced today. JDI's Lake Utopia Paper mill, in Utopia, New Brunswick, will receive $22 million in funding under the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (PPGTP) to increase the mill's capacity to produce clean energy and decrease its reliance on fossil fuels.

"This project shows that with smart investments in green technologies, pulp mills can increase their clean energy production, improve their environmental performance and still provide important forest products to consumers," said Minister Ashfield. "This program is laying the groundwork for a greener and more prosperous future for Canada's pulp and paper sector and its workers."

JDI is one of 24 pulp and paper companies across Canada that qualified for credits under the $1-billion program, based on their 2009 production levels of black liquor, a liquid by-product of the pulping process used to generate heat and power.

To improve Lake Utopia Paper's environmental performance, JDI is installing a new biomass boiler that will be fuelled by wood waste from the company's forestry operations in New Brunswick. The new boiler will provide enough steam to fulfil the energy needs of the mill - reducing the mill's reliance on fossil fuels to power its manufacturing operations and lowering green house gas emission by more than 66,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent volume of emissions produced by about 16,600 cars. The increase in renewable energy production from wood waste will displace the equivalent of 180,000 barrels of fossil fuel.

"We appreciate the commitment of the federal and provincial governments to securing hundreds of good-paying forest sector jobs at this mill and in the woodlands that supply this site," said Jim Irving, President of J.D. Irving, Limited. "These investments in energy efficiency are good for business and the environment and are also providing over 150,000 person hours of work to more than 25 local contractors - almost $12 million in local New Brunswick purchases."

The PPGTP investment of $22 million will cover the majority of this $32.9-million project. The remaining project expenses will be covered by a $10.8-million repayable loan from the Government of New Brunswick, along with a $500,000 grant from Efficiency NB.

"We are proud to work with this important employer to improve its environment performance and to help maintain 135 jobs in southwestern New Brunswick and achieve our objectives under the New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan," said Acting Business New Brunswick Minister Rick Doucet. "This ensures the long-term viability of the mill and provides savings that the company can re-invest in its employees and its community."

By reinforcing Lake Utopia Paper's environmental stewardship, the mill is able to meet market demands for sustainably manufactured pulp and paper products. Remaining commercially viable also allows JDI to maintain jobs within the community.

The Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program complements initiatives that are being delivered under Canada's Economic Action Plan to sustain and improve the forest industry in Canada. Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth is delivering $100 million over four years to support the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced technologies in the forest sector - helping create a world-class industry able to compete in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.

In addition, the Government of Canada has committed $170 million to assist the development of next-generation forest products and expand global markets for Canadian forest products. This funding includes $40 million to develop pilot-scale demonstrations under the Transformative Technologies Program.