BIG RIVER, Sask. – The official reopening of the province’s largest saw mill took place Tuesday morning in Big River, Saskatchewan.
The refurbished mill northwest of Prince Albert currently employs about 90 people with another dozen workers on the way.
Saskatchewan Economy Minister Boyd says the mill closed in 2006 due, in part, to the housing market overseas and in the United States at the time.
He says layoffs were very tough on the community and Tuesday was a very happy day for Big River.
B.C.-based Carrier Forest Products announced in 2011 that it was establishing a new saw mill and planer mill development after purchasing the old mill from its previous owner.
Premier Brad Wall says the up and running Big River saw mill will account for over 40 per cent of Saskatchewan’s lumber production capacity.
The mill has a capacity to produce 250 million board feet worth of lumber annually.
“We are pleased with the support from the Government of Saskatchewan in working to ensure a long-term timber supply and facilitating educational assistance of $500,000 for skilled labour and operator training,” said Bill Kordyban, Carrier Forest Products president.
Over 250 harvesting, trucking and reforestation jobs are expected to be created through a multiplier effect.
According to the ministry, Saskatchewan experienced a substantial improvement in 2013, generating $650 million in forest product sales.
Boyd says the forestry industry is on the rebound but not what it once was.
Owners have reopened seven of 11 mills in the province. A reopening date for the Prince Albert pulp mill is unknown at this time.