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Irving Pulp & Paper plans for generational upgrade of its Saint John pulp mill

May 29, 2024  By P&PC Staff


Irving Pulp & Paper has submitted a preliminary application to undertake a major upgrade to Saint John’s westside pulp mill. This reportedly represents a new long-term capital improvement plan and a potential $1.1 billion investment.

Known as NextGen, the project will increase the mill’s capacity while also increasing the green energy it generates, reportedly making it one of the top-producing kraft pulp mills in the world. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) related to the project has been submitted to New Brunswick’s Department of Environment. ​

“These upgrades will ensure Saint John’s pulp mill continues to be at the heart of the province’s forest products supply chain, and provides a regional market for chips, bark and pulpwood,” said Irving Pulp & Paper vice-president, Mark Mosher.

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The company intends to construct a new recovery boiler to replace the 1970s-era boiler. This project will increase production by approximately 66 percent and facilitate several new environmental upgrades to the historic mill including: ​

  • A new turbine and green energy generator which will help decarbonize New Brunswick’s electrical grid,
  • Technological improvements to re-use water and reduce the mill’s water consumption,​
  • Decommissioning an oil-fired boiler which will reduce the CO2 emitted from the mill.​

During the four-year construction phase, the $1.1 billion capital investment project will: ​

  • Generate over $172 million in tax revenue for provincial and local governments during the construction phase; ​
  • Generate $539 million in employment income and create more than 2,200 person years of employment; ​
  • Boost provincial GDP by $711 million; ​
  • Generate $409 million in household spending and generate opportunities for hundreds of local contractors. ​

This investment follows several major capital projects at the mill over the last 10 years.

Wood chip production facility 

A new wood chip production facility is being proposed on the site of the Bald Mountain Rock Quarry, in west Saint John. J.D. Irving, Limited is proposing to repurpose part of the property for this project, which is the subject of a separate EIA being filed concurrently with the provincial Department of Environment. The Bald Mountain Rock Quarry site is close to the mill and will eventually cease quarry operations as the site transitions to a wood chip facility.

This project will reduce carbon emissions and reduce costs associated with more efficient chip deliveries. Refurbishment and extension of the site’s rail capability will enable pulpwood to be received at the site via rail. ​

An open house for both projects will be held to provide information to nearby residents.


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