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Canada sets $88 million in new funding toward energy projects at pulp and paper, wood products mills

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Canada sets $88 million in new funding toward energy projects at pulp and paper, wood products mills

March 14, 2011 - 08:26
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 14, 2011 (RISI) -The government of Canada today announced a series of new investments across the country's pulp and paper and wood products sectors, totaling C$88 million, to protect jobs in Canada's forest industry.

The announcements, in a series of press releases, build on initiatives created to sustain and enhance Canada's forest industry and the communities that depend on it. Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth established $100-million in investments in a Forest Industry Transformation program to promote 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, the government said.

Canada's $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (PPGTP) was established in 2009 to provide funding for green energy projects at numerous mills, based on their black liquor combustion levels that year.

Canfor Pulpwill receive $2.5 million for its Cariboo-Prince George, BC, pulp mill under the Transformative Technologies Pilot-Scale Demonstration Program to support innovation and expand market opportunities. Other funding for the project includes a $2.1 million contribution from the BC Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands, bringing the total funding to $4.6 million.

In addition, Canfor Pulp will invest an additional $4.4 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

"This project will build on Canfor Pulp's leadership in the northern bleached softwood kraft market through the installation of ‘real-time' testing systems for our woodchips, pulping process and final pulp products," said Robert Dufresne, General Manager, Northwood Pulp mill. "This will allow Canfor Pulp to optimize the value chain and ensure that the raw materials and finished pulp products are matched to the customer's end use. This partnership between government and industry will enhance Canfor Pulp's competitiveness in the global pulp market."

Despite signs of recovery in some segments of the forest sector, there remains a need to find new and more efficient ways of using wood, woodfiber and its byproducts, the government said.

AV Groupin Nackawic, NB, will receive $24 million under the Transformative Technologies' program and PPGTP.

"This funding allows us to invest in projects right away, which will decrease our use of energy, reduce our emissions and support jobs at both of our facilities," said Shankar Ray, CEO of AV Group. "We are also very happy to be working with the Federal Government and FPInnovations to establish a state-of-the-art biogas plant at our Atholville facility."

Through PPGTP, the AV Group will receive $19 million for process upgrades to reduce the environmental footprint of AV's facilities while increasing efficiency and the generation of renewable energy.

Funding for the Nackawic facility will be used to purchase equipment to increase energy efficiency.

In addition to PPGTP funding, the AV Cell Atholville Biogas Project will receive $5 million in funding from the Transformative Technologies program to implement an innovative new technology that will reduce the mill's dependence on fossil fuels.

Nanaimo Forest Products'Harmac Pacificpulp mill in Nanaimo, BC, will receive $9 million under PPGTP for three capital improvement projects to substantially improve the environmental performance of the mill.

Catalyst Papermills in Powell River and Port Alberni, BC, recently received $18 million to help transform the Canadian forest industry while enhancing environmental performance and competitiveness.

Cascades' Norampac-Cabano mill in Quebec will receive $3 million under PPGTP. The company also was awarded $3.1 million under PPGTP for its East Angus, QC, mill to allow Cascades to build a modern pulp recycling facility.

"The East Angus mill is one of the oldest in Canada, and the federal government's support provides real help for upgrading the equipment, but most of all for maintaining quality jobs locally," said Cascades COO Mario Plourde.

PPGTP will also provide $24 million toSmurfit-Stone Container's paperboard mill in La Tuque, QC, and $975,000 toTembec's pulp and paper mill in Temiscaming, QC.

In wood products,Tolko Industrieswill receive $1.3 million under the Transformative Technologies program at its Meadow Lake, SK, oriented strand board (OSB) mill. Other funding for this project includes a $300,000 contribution from the government of Saskatchewan.

Tolko has also invested approximately $1.6 million in the project through cash and in-kind contributions. "This project, which applies research developed with FPInnovations, is a first in North America," said Parker Snyder, Plant Manager for Meadow Lake OSB. "We commend our government partners for investing in the future of this region and industry."

Structurlamwill receive $2.5 million under the Transformative Technologies program at its plant in Okanagan, BC. Other funding for this project includes a $2.5-million contribution from the government of British Columbia. "Structurlam's new venture into producing cross-laminated timber directly fits in with BC's Wood First priority," said Forests, Mines and Lands Minister Pat Bell. "It's important that we continue to grow new markets for wood products and support our value-added industry."

Structurlam has also invested approximately $7.5 million in the project through cash and in-kind contributions.

"Over its 50-year history, Structurlam has gained a reputation for adopting new technology to expand the use of engineered wood product," said Bill Downing, President of Structurlam Ltd. "We now expand the use of wood again with the production of cross-laminated timber panels. Today's investment from Natural Resources Canada will jumpstart production and allow architects to immediately specify the panels in commercial and institutional construction, while taking advantage of the abundant beetle-killed fibre that is currently available."