THUNDER BAY — Fort William First Nation and Resolute Forest Products on May 6 celebrated the launch of work related to the $17-million investment announced last year to expand the sawmill.
“Today is another great day and another step in the right direction as we continue growing in the world of economics. Our partnership with resolute has been very successful for our community, for our people working here, for the spin offs into the community,” said Fort William Chief Peter Collins.
“Those are good things that keep people working and keep the opportunities that can continue to grow. So today is another positive step for our relationship with Resolute that we drafted up some 20-odd years ago, and we continue to grow together.”
The work started last Friday is phase one of three and includes expanding and draining the yard to accommodate roughly 100,000 metres of roundwood and 15 to 20 million board feet of finished lumber.
Phase two will consist of constructing the 22 additional kilns in June, July and August, with phase 3 of the project consisting of work on the inside of the mill.
The project is planned to be complete in late October with a total of 35 new jobs being created at the largest mill in Resolute’s network.
“We’re no different than any others — we try to set up our assets to be as efficient as they can and weather the lows. I mean, anybody can make money in good times; it’s the ones that can stay afloat and weather the bad times, and Thunder Bay in particular is a mill that will weather any storm,” said Terry Ouellet, general manager of Ontario sawmills for Resolute.
“This just further solidifies its position. It’s a high-producing, well-managed facility."