SAINT JOHN, N.B.—J.D. Irving, Ltd. said it is pumping $450-million into its New Brunswick pulp operations—calling it the largest investment in a Canadian pulp mill in more than 20 years.
The Canadian conglomerate said it plans to invest heavily in a pair of modernization projects at its Irving Pulp and Paper, Ltd. pulp mill in Saint John, N.B., beginning this spring with a $198-million digester project.
The project will see a new chip screening and handling system and a new pulp digester, which is used to cook wood chips, built at the mill.
According to the company, the project will take 24 months to complete and will replace 14 existing digesters at the site.
A second project worth $250-million will kick off this fall, with a new pulp dryer installed.
The 30-month project will see three existing dryers at the facility replaced.
Construction start dates will depend on market conditions, the company said.
The two projects will combine to to create an estimated 1.2 million person hours of construction work—the equivalent to 600 full-time jobs.
Irving said the investment in the two projects is the largest made in a Canadian pulp mill since 1993.
“(This) rejuvenation project demonstrates that the future of our province’s biggest economic sector is as bright as its past,” New Brunswick Premier David Alward said in a statement released by Irving.
“I want to congratulate Irving Pulp and Paper for the confidence it is placing in New Brunswick’s greatest resource, its people. This project will put boots in the woods and in our mills in every region of our province.”
The pulp mill investment involves no provincial or federal government funding, Irving said.