Minister Responds To Sawmill Restructuring In Northeastern Ontario

Archived Release

Minister Responds To Sawmill Restructuring In Northeastern Ontario

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Province Continues To Work With Forest Industry TORONTO, Jan. 4 - The Ontario government will work with the forest industry to help ensure that the industry continues to play an important role in Ontario's economy, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today. Ramsay was responding to the announcement earlier today by Tembec and Domtar that their sawmills in northeastern Ontario will be restructured. While sawmills in Kirkland Lake, Opasatika and Chapleau will be closing, the companies are proposing the construction of a new finger-jointed lumber mill and the redistribution of wood supply to local mills to help mitigate the economic impact. "The announcement of sawmill closures by Tembec and Domtar is regrettable, but I understand that these small sawmills are facing difficult times in a very competitive business environment," said Ramsay. "While these adjustments are difficult, it's my firm hope that the remaining mills in these communities will become stronger competitors in the sawmill industry, and will continue to contribute to the prosperity of northeastern Ontario." Tembec and Domtar have advised the ministry that they plan to jointly invest over $9 million in the construction of a new finger-jointed lumber mill in Kirkland Lake area to open in late 2005. In addition, the ministry supports the companies' request to redirect wood supplies associated with closed sawmills to help strengthen remaining sawmills in the same or nearby communities. Ramsay said he has asked the companies to reassign workers to the remaining sawmills wherever possible, and to work with the affected communities to lessen the economic impact of mill closures. On November 24, 2004, Ramsay announced the appointment of a Council on Forest Sector Competitiveness to help address the challenges being faced by the forest industry in Ontario. Disponible en fran├žais www.mnr.gov.on.caFor further information: Media calls only - Ginette Albert, Minister's Office, (416) 314-2212; or Anne-Marie Flanagan, Minister's Office, (416) 327-0654; Steve Payne, Ministry of Natural Resources, (416) 314-2103