In obviously related news, JD Irving announced Friday two more major investments in its forestry operations, pledging to pump a total of $38 million into sawmill operations in Chipman, NB, and a centre in Doaktown.
The announcements followed Thursday’s commitment by the New Brunswick government to increase the allocation of softwood the forest industry will be able to cut on Crown land.
The company will also invest $23 million in its Grand Lake Timber Sawmill, beginning this autumn.
New Forestry Plan: New Brunswick
The anticipated investment by industry will result in an increased need for wood from private wood lot — about 250,000 cubic metres.
The New Brunswick government is increasing the amount of softwood the forestry sector can take from Crown land by 20 per cent under the province’s new forestry strategy.
The overall timber objective is now about 3.9 million cubic metres of spruce and fir from Crown lands.
It’s expected to result in the harvesting of an additional 660,000 cubic metres.
First Nations will be allocated an additional 30,000 cubic metres of softwood fibre.
“It’s about putting more boots in the woods and the mills,” with about 500 new forestry jobs and 1,200 construction jobs predicted, said Premier David Alward.
The province says it will maintain the annual hardwood harvest at 1.8 million cubic metres.
The industry is also expected to invest about $600 million, the government said.
For its part, Irving says this will result in 16 new jobs at its sawmill, 96 direct construction jobs and 49 indirect construction jobs.
The forest industry in New Brunswick is worth more than $1.45 billion annually and more than 22,000 people in the province rely directly on indirectly on forestry, said Alward.
Also, in the woodlands division, the investment will create the equivalent of 39 full-time direct jobs, including season jobs, and 27 indirect jobs.
Under the new plan, called Putting our Resources to Work: A Strategy for Crown Lands Forest Management, Crown licensees will be held more accountable for achieving specified outcomes from their harvest and management activities.
In Doaktown, Irving is putting $15 million into the White Pine Centre of Excellence.
The government will develop a “results-based framework” in co-operation with the licensees, which could save the government millions of dollars annually.
Forty new jobs will be created in the woodlands division along with 28 indirect jobs.
The province has committed $1 million to police the strategy.
On Thursday, Irving announced $450-million in upgrades to its Irving Pulp & Paper mill in Saint John, NB.
Work in Doaktown will being in the spring of 2015, creating 78 direct jobs in construction and 40 indirect construction jobs.
The improvements are designed to create a 10 per cent increase in lumber yield for the company.