By Cindy Macdonald
With support from the federal government, Fortress Paper is moving ahead with a strategic project to use birch fibre to manufacture dissolving pulp at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill in Thurso, Que.
Birch trees grow abundantly across Canada and are considered an underutilized species of tree. The company says the project will ensure a better use of the mixed forest in the local region, increase economic activity, and result in other ancillary economic benefits. It is also expected to result in an incremental annual production capacity increase of 8,500 ADMT in 2018 and 17,000 ADMT in 2019 compared to current production capacity.
“We are delighted with the support of the federal government. This investment highlights the innovative and transformative potential of producing dissolving pulp using birch,” said Yvon Pelletier, president and CEO of Fortress Paper.
The project is estimated to cost approximately $19.7 million in total, with $9 million to be funded by the Government of Canada through a non-repayable contribution. The remainder of the project’s total cost is expected to be financed by the company with cash on hand, operating cash-flow and other investment incentive programs, such as the Hydro Québec “Rate L” tariff.
Fortress Paper expects that the project will be completed in the first quarter of 2018.