Ontario Newsroom

Ontario Investing in Wood Pellet Manufacturing Facilities in Wawa and Atikokan

Archived News Release

Ontario Investing in Wood Pellet Manufacturing Facilities in Wawa and Atikokan

Province Supporting Innovative Manufacturing; Creating Jobs in Northern Ontario

Ontario is investing in two projects to help Rentech Inc., a Northern Ontario fibre company, to convert two idle wood product mills into facilities that manufacture wood pellets, a sustainable energy source. The two facilities have created over 60 jobs in Northern Ontario.

Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), Ontario will invest $4 million into the two plants. The facilities, located in Wawa and Atikokan, will turn Crown-owned wood materials that previously would not have been used or sold, into wood pellets to be used to produce electricity in local and international power production facilities.

The Wawa facility has already secured a sales contract with a UK-based company for their production. The Atikokan facility will sell to Ontario Power Generation, which has phased out coal and is using sustainable resources like wood pellets to produce electricity.

Investing in private-sector job creation projects is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2003, the NOHFC has invested almost $1 billion in 6,570 projects in Northern Ontario, creating or sustaining more than 25,100 jobs.
  • In the Thunder Bay region, the NOHFC has invested over $155 million in 1,311 projects, creating or sustaining more than 5,070 jobs, since 2003.
  • In the Algoma-Manitoulin region, the NOHFC has invested over $88 million in 651 projects, creating or sustaining 1,570 jobs, since 2003.
  • The NOHFC’s investments in economic development are an important part of the Ontario government’s Growth Plan for Northern Ontario.
  • Wood pellets are the most common type of pellet fuel and are generally made from compacted sawdust and related industrial wastes from the milling of lumber, manufacture of wood products and furniture, and construction.

Additional Resources


“Rentech’s proposals for these two plants show innovation, business savvy and responsible management of resources. Our government is proud to support Ontario wood products and invest in these sustainable projects that will create jobs in Northern Ontario.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the NOHFC

“The conversion of the two coal plants in Thunder Bay-Atikokan has led directly to the creation of the need for biomass pellets. I’m excited by the additional direct and indirect employment that will be created both in Atikokan and Wawa through this new industry in Ontario, and am pleased that our government has been able to support these two Rentech plants through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.”

Bill Mauro

MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan

“The conversion of the previous particleboard plant in Atikokan by Rentech to make wood pellets creates much needed jobs in Atikokan, as well as creating forestry and transportation jobs in our area. I would like to sincerely thank all those who made it happen, especially Rentech, Ministers Bill Mauro and Michael Gravelle and the entire provincial government. We now have essentially a brand new facility that will help take Atikokan well into the future. This is great news for Atikokan!”

Dennis Brown

Mayor, Town of Atikokan

“We are pleased that through the leadership of Minister Gravelle and MNDM that funding from NOHFC has brought this project to fruition. The community of Wawa welcomes the much-needed economic stimulus the Rentech Operation will bring to the Superior East Region. Above all it instills confidence, hope and a revitalized energy for our residents to invest in their community.”

Ron Rody

Mayor, Municipality of Wawa

“We are thankful for the ongoing support from the Ontario government and in particular, Hon. Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Hon. Bill Mauro, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. The partnership and support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation played an important role in constructing the Atikokan and Wawa pellet facilities. We look forward to continued success in Northern Ontario, and are proud of our contribution of new jobs and local economic development.”

Stephen Roberts

Managing Director, Rentech Canada

Media Contacts



Business and Economy Jobs and Employment