By: The Working Forest Staff
paNOW — The opening of the Paper Excellence pulp mill is expected to add almost 1,700 jobs directly and indirectly to the local economy.
CAPTION: Bronwyn Eyre, Minister of Energy and Resources, toured the pulp mill site north of Prince Albert yesterday and is pictured with representatives from Paper Excellence.
That was the message given by Bronwyn Eyre, Minister of Energy and Resources, at a tour of the mill yesterday afternoon.
“In terms of the ramp-up of jobs what’s really exciting is that the contractors and workers will be almost exclusively from the Prince Albert area,” said Eyre.
Many of the jobs will be targeted toward hiring Indigenous people, including those who will be employed at One Sky, a new OSB mill that will share a site with the pulp mill.
“Twenty-seven per cent of the workforce in forestry is Indigenous, that’s higher than any province. Amazing news for the north, amazing news for Prince Albert and the economy,” said Eyre.
Eyre toured the mill site on May 5 and said it was good to see the location in person.
“It’s so helpful to actually walk the site and see and visualize what it’s going to look like. One of the things that we looked at was the co-synergies with One Sky, the one-sitting, that will be coming online,” she said.
Last fall, the province announced expanded timber allocations, most of which were in the North Central and North East areas.
Along with the two allocations at Prince Albert, Dunkley in Carrot River, and the Carrier mill at Big River all received permission to cut more timber.
Jobs are not limited to those contained on-site as the wood is generally hauled into the mills with contracted companies and other services can also be contracted out.
The new allocations have resulted in another $1 billion of investments in Saskatchewan, said Eyre, with the Paper Excellence mill the largest of them.
“A lot of work had gone into those allocations, a lot of months of work of going through everything in high detail in terms of really maximizing the allocations so the right product came to the right facility,” she said.
The former pulp mill is being changed to make paper packaging such as that used in shipped goods from online sales.
Carlo dal Monte, project operations director for the Prince Albert mill said the project is progressing.
“We completed winterizing work just to ensure we can get in here and do the engineering and safely access the site as we do that,” said dal Monte.
The company will next work on finalizing its environmental impact statement, a document that helps regulators feel confidence in the project, he explained.
Working with One Sky has been very good, dal Monte said.
“We both recognize that we’re better together on this site. It’s a unique location with the pulp haul road and its access to the northern forests,” he said.
Combining the logging activities of both companies creates essentially a forestry hub, explained dal Monte.
“Our logging activities create basically a hub for the contractors and harvester to focus around,” he stated.
Growth in the forestry industry is something that has been relatively rare for some time, so dal Monte is happy to see change in the opposite direction.
“It’s exciting. I’ve been in this business for close to 30 years and it’s nice to be building something,” he said.
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