Ontario is strengthening the local forest industry by helping AbitibiBowater increase the efficiency of its pulp and paper complex in Thunder Bay.
The province is providing the company with a $1.16-million grant towards the $11.6-million project through the Forest Sector Prosperity Fund, which will help the company increase the efficiency of its kraft pulping process and reduce its energy demand for steam production.
The boost in efficiency will help the company secure about 350 high-value jobs at the pulp and paper complex.
Ontario’s Forest Sector Prosperity Fund and Loan Guarantee Program are part of the McGuinty government’s $1-billion plan to help forest companies invest in the future of their business and the prosperity of local communities.
“Our government has the right plan to strengthen Ontario’s forest industry,” said Natural Resources minister Donna Cansfield. “We’re pleased to support the local economy, help secure good jobs in Thunder Bay, and boost a sector that directly benefits northern and rural communities which depend on forestry as a way of life.”
“Our Thunder Bay pulp and paper facility continues on its journey towards improved competitiveness as a result of this investment,” said Doug Murray, general manager of Thunder Bay operations for AbitibiBowater.
“The Ontario government’s contribution helped us to move ahead with upgrades that will boost process and energy efficiency in this facility,” he added.
The McGuinty government has committed more than $1 billion in various programs over five years to increase the competitiveness of Ontario’s forest industry.
More than $390 million in new forest sector investment has been announced, and about 4,900 jobs have been created or saved.