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Columbia Forest Products nets $3.2M to modernize Hearst plant

Hardwood plywood mill will modernize, streamline operations
Columbia Forest Products will receive $3.2 million over five years to modernize its Hearst plywood mill. (Supplied photo)

Columbia Forest Products will use $3.2 million in provincial funds to help modernize and streamline its Hearst hardwood plywood mill.

John Yakabuski, minister of natural resources and forestry, announced the funding on May 30 while touring the mill.

"Since we were elected, one of our top priorities has been to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs," said Yakabuski in a release.

"Our investment is helping the mill maximize production capacity, develop new products and secure its position as a leading hardwood plywood manufacturing plant in North America."

The funds will be doled out over a five-year period. While modernizing the plant, it’s also expected the funds will help create or retain 350 jobs in Hearst and in Rutherglen, where the company operates a hardwood veneer plant.

Columbia Forest Products operates 13 manufacturing facilities across North America.

Gilles Levesque, director for Canadian operations for Columbia Forest Products, said the company is “encouraged” by the province’s support.

"The modernization and enhancement of our Hearst production is progressing very well with the purchase and installation of state-of-the-art equipment, including a Meinan composer and next-generation Raute patching technology," Levesque said.

"To date, the expansion project has created 30 new full-time positions at the Hearst and Rutherglen mills."

The province indicated Ontario's forest industry generates more than $15 billion in revenues and supports 150,000 direct and indirect jobs in 260 communities across the province.