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Province Helps Pave Way To Alternative Energy Technology

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Province Helps Pave Way To Alternative Energy Technology

Municipal Road Project Supports Abitibi Investment In Biomass Plant

FORT FRANCES - The McGuinty government is working with the Town of Fort Frances to upgrade infrastructure in support of a major alternative energy biomass burner project at a local paper mill, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci announced today.

"We are pleased to support a municipal project that will help preserve and grow good private sector jobs in the community over the long term," said Bartolucci, who is also chair of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). "Our investment will help to significantly upgrade infrastructure that will support the efficient operation of a new alternative energy biomass burner being built by Abitibi Consolidated."

The NOHFC is providing more than $1.3 million to the Town of Fort Frances to expand and improve roads, sewer and water and other infrastructure in the community. The upgrades are necessary to accommodate large trucks carrying waste wood to a biomass burner facility being developed by Abitibi. They will also enable the excavation for incineration of wood waste from a local landfill site.

The alternative energy biomass burner is the product of an $84-million investment by Abitibi Consolidated in its local pulp and paper mill. Converting an existing co-generation facility from natural gas to biomass fuel will reduce energy costs, enhance profitability and create and retain jobs.  This initiative supports the creation of up to 100 permanent full-time positions and the retention of more than 1,000 positions in the mill and in the woodlands of the Rainy River District.

"Earlier this year we were delighted to announce our support of Abitibi-Consolidated's biomass project with $22 million in funding from the Forestry Sector Prosperity Fund. Today's announcement builds on that investment," said Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay. "The McGuinty government is empowering communities like Fort Frances and industries in their pursuit of leading edge, environmentally responsible technologies that will promote prosperity in the future."

This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in support of northern economic development in the area.  Other examples include:

•    Providing $355,974 to Lakehead University, in partnership with Bowater Canadian Forest Products and the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada, for the development of new testing apparatus that would measure the polluting effects of pulp and paper mill waste water

•    Contributing $60 million to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to support job creation and emerging technologies.

These initiatives are part of the government's Northern Prosperity Plan for building stronger northern communities. It has four pillars: Strengthening the North and its Communities; Listening to and Serving Northerners Better; Competing Globally; and Providing Opportunities for All.  

Laura Blondeau
Minister's Office - Sudbury
(705) 564-7454    

Michel Lavoie    
MNDM/NOHFC - Sudbury
(705) 564-7125



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