Research in Thunder Bay to Boost Diversification and Opportunity in Forestry Sector
THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Government is supporting innovative research and a new pilot project in Thunder Bay that will encourage sustainable forest management, create jobs and grow the Northern economy.The province’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is investing $4.5 million to help FPInnovations establish a fully functioning bio-refinery plant. The new plant will speed up the mass production and successful commercialization of green bio-chemicals derived from wood.
“This investment will help Ontario’s forestry sector grow and help to create jobs in Thunder Bay. As a local MPP, I am delighted to see our government’s continued commitment to building up the North by investing in innovative projects such as this one,” stated Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Chair of the NOHFC and MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North.
The resulting eco-friendly products will provide renewable, biodegradable and cost-effective alternatives to petroleum-based products for use in the construction, automotive, mining, oil and other sectors.
“Ontario has an excellent track record when it comes to sustainable forestry and our government is continuing its investment in the sector with this innovative pilot project. FPInnovations is a leader and a prime example of the critical diversification that is taking place to drive continued growth in the forestry sector. This sector has played, and will continue to play, a critical role in Ontario’s economy because of its ability to adapt to a variety of regional, national and global influences,” enthused Minister Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The pilot plant is part of an extensive cluster of forest bio-economy research in the North that will help companies diversify their businesses and ensure sustainability.
Investing in the forestry sector is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario’s history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“We thank the Government of Ontario for its unrelenting support of the TMP Bio-refinery pilot plant, which will provide new pathways to large-scale production of bio-products from Canadian forests. The project builds on our existing partnership with Resolute Forest Products and Lakehead University, and is a glowing example of the power of collaboration to create projects that can lead to unique, innovative and environmentally-friendly products and technology. This government’s confidence in the future of the forest sector and the regions dependent on it will ensure that it remains globally competitive and a significant contributor to Northern Ontario’s economy,” stated Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO, FP Innovations.
“We are pleased to contribute $3.5 million to this innovative project and to host the pilot plant at our Thunder Bay pulp and paper facility. The three-year research program with FPInnovations will help demonstrate the feasibility of the process and optimize potential market applications for bio-chemicals derived from wood – critical to the commercial success of the project,” commented Richard Garneau, President and CEO, Resolute Forest Products.
“The funding announced today by the province aligns with the ongoing operational support provided by the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) to FP Innovations for the Bio-Economy Technology Centre at Resolute Forest Products. The TMP-Bio project is an exciting new frontier in value-added wood processing and this support from the NOHFC, together with the ongoing commitment from Resolute and other partners, will continue to push Ontario to the forefront of innovation in the bio-economy,” said Scott Wiebe, CEO, Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-economy.