New Brunswick increases wood allocation to former Atcon Miramichi plywood mill to facilitate its sale; will allocate wood to closed Weyerhaeuser OSB mill if sold and reopened; issues RFP for 230,000 m3

MIRAMICHI, New Brunswick , August 12, 2010 (press release) – The provincial government will make available Crown wood to support three forestry operations in the Miramichi region, Premier Shawn Graham announced today.

The provincial government’s plans entail:

Ï issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for about 230,000 cu. m of Crown wood to support job creation in the Miramichi region;
Ï providing a Crown wood allocation to the former Weyerhaeuser oriented strand board (OSB) mill if the Miramichi mill is sold and reopened; and
Ï increasing by about 30 per cent the Crown wood allocation assigned to the former Atcon plywood mill in Miramichi to facilitate its sale to a new owner.

Graham said the provincial government is aware of a number of potential buyers for the OSB and plywood mills. Government is prepared to provide a Crown wood allocation to each mill that is larger than the allocation available to the previous operators, he said.

"These companies are in discussions with Weyerhaeuser and the receiver for the plywood mill, and we believe our offer of a significant Crown wood allocation to each facility can help bring these discussions to a successful conclusion,'' said Graham. "Our goal is to see these mills reopened and employing people on the Miramichi.''

The RFP is being issued today. Interested parties will have 60 days to submit preliminary proposals after which qualifying candidates will have 120 days to submit detailed business and financial plans.

"This Crown allocation will be available to an existing or new wood processing facility located within the boundaries of the Northumberland County Forest Products Marketing Board," Graham said. "Submissions will be evaluated in large part on the number of jobs to be created in the region as well as other benefits to the Miramichi, such as the purchase of additional wood from private woodlot owners."

The allocation will consist of Crown biomass material and sawmill residue, primarily bark.

"All of this wood has been set aside to foster economic development in the Miramichi," said Graham. "Our government is committed to helping to create jobs and new opportunities in the Miramichi area.''

He noted that the forest industry on the Miramichi has been rebounding recently, including the reopening of Miramichi Lumber Products (formerly Newcastle Lumber Co.).

"Our government supported the reopening of Miramichi Lumber through the allocation of additional Crown wood," Graham said. "Forestry has always been a mainstay of the Miramichi economy, and we are using local Crown wood to ensure this industry continues to provide jobs for Miramichiers."

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