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West Fraser investing $15M for water reduction at Hinton pulp mill in Alberta

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West Fraser investing $15M for water reduction at Hinton pulp mill in Alberta

May 18, 2010 - 06:08

HINTON, AB, May 18, 2010 (Market Wire) -West Fraser Timber will boost its environmental performance and contribute to a more sustainable pulp and paper industry in Canada with help from a significant investment by the Government of Canada, the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State for Transport, announced today. West Fraser's Hinton Pulp Mill will receive $15 million in funding under the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (PPGTP) for its Pressure Diffusion Washer Project, creating a more efficient pulping process by reducing water consumption and redirecting more steam for the production of clean energy.

"This project shows that with smart investment in new technologies, pulp mills can increase their clean energy production, improve their environmental performance, and still provide important forest products to consumers," said Minister Merrifield. "This specific, targeted investment will help lay the groundwork for a greener and more prosperous future for Canada's pulp and paper sector."

Steam savings gained through this project will translate into 3,580 megawatt-hours of additional energy a year - enough to power the equivalent of 2,800 homes. In addition, a key benefit of the project will be the reduced use of natural gas as clean energy production increases - lowering greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7,000 tonnes a year.

"The installation of a pressure diffuser washer will allow Hinton Pulp to meet these energy efficiency goals by reducing the volume of natural gas consumed and increasing the facility's production of green power," said Brian Grantham, General Manager, Hinton Pulp. "The successful completion of this project is expected to be an important step for Hinton Pulp in improving its overall competitiveness and long-term outlook."

West Fraser Timber 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.

By improving its environmental stewardship and existing facility, the Hinton Pulp Mill will be able to meet market demand for sustainably manufactured pulp and paper products. The Government of Canada investment also enables the mill to take advantage of opportunities in Canada's bioeconomy and maintain jobs while supporting Canada's status as a world leader in sustainable forest management.

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.