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Timber allocations approved for two Saskatchewan sawmills

File photo. The Carrier Forest Products sawmill in Big River and second for the Dunkley Lumber sawmill in Carrot River have received timber allocations from the Saskatchewan government. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press.

Timber allocations for two sawmills in Saskatchewan have been approved by the province.

One allocation is for the Carrier Forest Products sawmill in Big River and the second for the Dunkley Lumber sawmill in Carrot River.

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The allocation to Carrier will support increased production at the sawmill, according to Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre.

“This increase in production will bring the Carrier sawmill closer to capacity and is expected to create important new jobs,” Eyre said in a release Friday.

“This is more good news for the forestry sector in Saskatchewan and will lead to enhanced economic development opportunities for Indigenous workers, northern communities and the broader provincial economy.”

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Carrier said the increased allocation from the province is “critical” to the sawmill reaching full capacity.

“We acknowledge the diligence and hard work the province has done to further develop and diversify the forest industry in Saskatchewan,” said company president Bill Kordyban.

Carrier will still rely on commercial agreements with Indigenous timber allocation holders and private landowners for the majority of its timber need for the operation.

Earlier this year, Carrier signed a five-year agreement with three Saskatchewan First Nations to supply wood for the sawmill.

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The Big River sawmill is the largest of three sawmills in Saskatchewan.

The province said its second allocation announced Friday supports a proposed expansion at Dunkley’s sawmill in Carrot River.

“It’s been a great week for the forestry sector in our province,” Eyre said.

“Dunkley’s Carrot River mill expansion will lead to significant growth in lumber sales and exports and is expected to create 240 new direct and indirect jobs, which is very positive news for northeast Saskatchewan.”

The sawmill is currently undergoing a $100-million expansion to increase capacity by 75 per cent to 230 million board feet annually.

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“The sawmill will add a second saw line and increase production over five phases of development by the fall of 2023,” said company president Rob Novak.

“Dunkley looks forward to completion of its sawmill expansion in Saskatchewan and appreciates the proactive approach by the provincial government in its mandate to grow the forest sector while meeting important sustainability objectives.”

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Friday’s announcements bring to four the number of timber allocations announced by the Saskatchewan government this week.

On Wednesday, the province approved an allocation for One Sky Forest Products’ new lumber mill in Prince Albert.

The allocation will provide the majority of the timber needed for the project.

The following day, Paper Excellence received its allocation approval as it moves to restart the pulp mill in Prince Albert.

Paper Excellence said that decision was critical as it works toward restarting operations at the mill in late 2023.

— with files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi 

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