Mill industry to go again in Big River

By Andrew de Souza
August 4, 2011 - 10:15am Updated: August 4, 2011 - 4:52pm

BIG RIVER — Milling operations in Big River are set to start again.

On Thursday, Premier Brad Wall came to the community to announce that Carrier Wood Products had been awarded an allocation from the Prince Albert Forest Management area and as such, the company would be able to begin milling operations.

It was another piece of good news in a string of announcements that would reinvigorate the province’s forestry sector, Wall said.

“It’s getting better,” he said. “The forestry sector in the province today is a lot stronger than it was even a couple of weeks ago and certainly a year ago.”

Carrier Wood Products has been awarded about the 200,000 cubic meters or fibre that had been set aside last year.

The allocation was the final step to re-establishing operations in the community, said Bill Koryband, company president.

“The allocation of the fibre is of critical importance,” he said.

“We had been making plans for different options and what this now does is bring everything into focus and to bring us to the next stage, to get a mill running.”

Saskatchewan energy and resource minister Bill Boyd said Carrier was given the allocation because it met the right criteria.

“We wanted to have a co-managed agreement, we wanted to make sure there were First Nations involvement … and we wanted to make it such that we’d have opportunities for communities like Big River,” he said.

“Now that has been looked after and this is a very positive day for Big River.”

Future of current mill uncertain

While it was announced that Carrier would begin operation, Koryband didn’t specify what those operations would look. He said negotiations were in progress over whether or not the company would purchase the existing mill or construct a new one.

Regardless of what is decided, Koryband said the operation will likely hire upwards or 110 people directly, plus create much economic spinoff.

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