"This investment is a tribute to the everyday skill, passion and dedication of all employees who help sustain world class forest products operations from our home here in New Brunswick. The pulp mill is a cornerstone for thousands of jobs - from foresters and woods workers to private wood producers, sawmills, paper, corrugated medium and high value tissue products. Throughout New Brunswick, small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the industry - over 1700 suppliers in more than 250 communities." said Jim Irving, Co-CEO of J.D. Irving, Limited.
"We appreciate the commitment of the Province to ensure a sustainable wood supply that makes this modernization program possible," Irving continued. "A growing wood supply will be achieved while ensuring responsible environmental performance that includes watercourse protection, habitat conservation, an ongoing $1.5 million investment in forest research every year as well as independent 3rd party audits. That is the commitment of our team of more than 150 forestry professionals who work in the woods of New Brunswick. " said Jim Irving.
This spring the company will invest $198 million in a 24 month project to build a new chip screening and handling system as well as a new pulp digester which cooks the wood chips. The modern new digester will replace the 14 existing digesters at the site. The project will reduce air and noise emissions. As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process for this project, a public meeting will be held at St. Patrick's School on March 25, 2014.
A second investment of $250 million will commence with engineering work this coming fall. The project involves installing a modern new pulp dryer to replace the existing 3 dryers on site. This project is estimated to take 30 months with the construction start date dependent on market conditions.
"New Brunswick's forestry sector was built by strong partners, and Irving Pulp and Paper's $450-million mill rejuvenation project demonstrates that the future of our province's biggest economic sector is as bright as its past," said Premier David Alward. "I want to congratulate Irving Pulp and Paper for the confidence it is placing in New Brunswick's greatest resource, its people. This project will put boots in the woods and in our mills in every region of our province."
"We are very excited about this announcement," said Mel Norton, Mayor of Saint John. "This significant capital investment in Irving Pulp & Paper will not only solidify a major employer in our City but will also assist in maintaining over 160 other businesses in Saint John that provide about $30 million in goods and services a year to this west side facility."
"This announcement today is proof of what can happen when government, industry and labour work together to support and strengthen the local economy," said Jerry Dias, National President at Unifor, the country's largest private-sector union. "It will sustain thousands of good jobs and Irving's investment will generate hundreds of new jobs. This means great things for our workers, for the people of Saint John and for communities throughout New Brunswick."
Further company announcements will be made tomorrow at JDI sawmills in Doaktown and Chipman and in Northern NB and Sussex at the end of the month.