Irving Pulp & Paper will invest $450 million in a two-phase modernization program of the company’s kraft pulp mill in Saint John, N.B. The project includes an upgrade to the chip handling system, a new digester and new pulp dryer.
“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,” said Jim Irving, co-CEO of J.D. Irving, Limited.
The investment announcement came only one day after the government of New Brunswick revealed its new forest strategy.
“We appreciate the commitment of the province to ensure a sustainable wood supply that makes this modernization program possible,” Irving commented.
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 install a new pulp digester. The modern new digester will replace the 14 existing digesters at the site. This modernization is expected to reduce air and noise emissions.
A second investment of $250 million will commence with engineering work in the fall of 2014. The project involves installing a modern pulp dryer to replace the existing three dryers on the site. This upgrade is estimated to take 30 months with the construction start date dependent on market conditions.
“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.
Irving says this is the largest investment in a pulp mill in Canada since 1993, and it involves no provincial or federal government funding.
Tembec is in the midst of $190 million upgrade at its Temiscaming, Que., specialty pulp mill.