Nanaimo Forest Products to begin construction of new C$45M electrical generation plant at its Harmac pulp mill in Nanaimo, British Columbia, signs 15-year deal with B.C. Hydro to supply 25 MW to the province; project requires 18 months for completion

NANAIMO, British Columbia , January 5, 2012 () – Work will begin shortly on a new, $45million electrical generation plant at the Harmac pulp mill.

Harmac president Levi Sampson said Nanaimo Forest Products, which owns the mill, and B.C. Hydro have signed a 15-year agreement for the turbo-generation plant to produce 25 megawatts of green electricity, enough to light up 17,000 homes, and add it to the province's power grid.

Sampson said the construction of the plant will begin "immediately" and it is expected the work will provide 85 full-time construction and other technical jobs for the 18 months required to complete the building. The full costs of the project will be cove red by Harmac.

While acknowledging that the plant will provide more financial stability for Harmac, Delores Broten, editor of the Watershed Sentinel, said she hopes wood waste with high salt concentrations will not be used in the plant because it would put a lot more di oxins in the air.

Building an electrical generation plant that would use wood waste as fuel and selling the energy to B.C. Hydro was part of the long-range expansion plans by NFP when the company bought Harmac in 2008, and Sampson said he's pleased that the mill is now pre pared to move forward.

"We've always wanted to do this but there were so many other things to focus on during our first years of operation," Sampson said.

"It's a big financial commitment and the decision to move forward with the project was not made lightly, but we see it as another revenue stream for the mill. There are so many ups and downs in the pulp industry that the stable and secure revenue stream w hich this will provide will help us out in hard times."

The new generation plant will produce electricity from wood biomass using recaptured steam energy to help power the generator. Harmac is also spending $27 million in federal funding that was earmarked under the Green Transformation Fund, intended to impro ve energy efficiency and environmental performance in mill operations.

The mill has invested almost $15 million of that funding into various projects and has until the end of March to spend the rest.

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