February 12, 2016:
On February 10, MLA David Coon made statements in the NB Legislature regarding our company that have no basis in fact. As an elected representative, we believe he has a responsibility to support jobs from sustainable forest sector businesses and suppliers. The majority of these 1700 enterprises are small businesses – located across New Brunswick. At least one of these businesses is located in Mr. Coon’s riding.
In March 2014 we announced the largest pulp mill investment in Canada since 1993 plus other forestry and mill investments totaling $513 million. To date, we have spent and committed for 2016 over $265 million related to this announcement.
We have also dedicated additional investment in projects that were not part of the March 2014 announcement. This includes $37 million to new projects at Lake Utopia Paper (St. George) and Irving Paper (Saint John). A further $34 million has been dedicated to support 65 new entrepreneurs across NB in their purchase of logging equipment which will employ approximately 100 new machine operators and drivers. In 2016, JDI Woodlands will support 20 new contractor entrepreneurs in the purchase of an additional $22 million in equipment, resulting in 20 new truck driver jobs.
At the same time we are working with private woodlot owners. JDI is on track for one of its biggest years ever for purchase wood (April 2015 to April 2016 forest management year). The modernization of the Chipman sawmill has contributed to this expanded market between willing buyers and sellers.
At the heart of these investments - and the thousands of jobs they represent - is the sustainable management of New Brunswick forests. We have the privilege to manage Crown Land. The Crown has demanded even greater accountability of us with the 2014 results-based strategy.
Independent audits of our forest management are a matter of public record and confirm we are managing to the highest standard. Mr. Coon’s statement regarding “… an unsustainable level of cutting on Crown land” is an untrue and irresponsible insult against the 150 forestry professionals whose #1 priority is sustainable forests.
We want New Brunswickers to know that we are working hard to deliver on the commitments made in March 2014.
• We have met our commitment to spend an additional $7.3 million per year on tree planting and silviculture.
• We have spent $180 million to date of the $200 million Phase 2 modernization of the pulp mill, generating almost 300 direct construction jobs. Phase 2 start-up will commence at the end of March 2016.
• Regarding Phase 3 of the pulp mill modernization (a forecasted $250 million investment) we have started civil and engineering work with $16 million committed to date.
• Our $37 million investment at our Chipman sawmill in 2015 exceeded the March 2014 announcement and sustained 120 direct construction jobs. We have kept our promise to create 16 new permanent jobs at the sawmill.
• Our commitment regarding northern NB sawmills has also exceeded the $3.5 million investment announced in 2014. Seven (7) new permanent jobs have been created.
• The new $3.2 million state-of-the-art lab at Sussex is complete and conducting world-class research.
• The $15 million sawmill project in Doaktown is being engineered and, subject to market conditions, construction will begin this fall.
Unemployment is the #1 issue for New Brunswickers. Since 2003, 54 mills have closed in the province (pulp, paper, and sawmills) – an estimated 8100 jobs lost. This is not our story. New Brunswick is our home we are focused on progress - sustaining and growing opportunities for our employees and our NB suppliers in the communities where we are proud to live and work.
Jason Limongelli – Vice President, Woodlands
Jerome Pelletier – Vice President, Sawmills
Mark Mosher – Vice President, Pulp & Paper
Vice President, Communications
J.D. Irving, Limited