Aug. 21, 2009
BELLEDUNE (CNB) - Government is helping maintain more than 300 jobs at Chaleur Sawmills in the Belledune area with a seven-year, $1.2-million term loan, Business New Brunswick Minister Victor Boudreau announced today. The loan will help the sawmill install new equipment to increase productivity.
"The management team at this mill has skilfully navigated the difficulties created by the downturn in the forest industry to remain a strong employer for this community," said Boudreau. "I am pleased to help this mill modernize so it can be successful long into the future. Chaleur Sawmills is a critical employer in this community, and we are confident that this investment will maintain its position as an industry leader."
The mill is one of the region's largest and most important employers, with the majority of workers living in the Chaleur region, many from Restigouche County. It directly employs 165 skilled workers, including accountants, machinists, millwrights, mechanics, welders and electricians. Another 140 people are employed at the mill through sub-contractors.
Chaleur Sawmills' general manager Duane Woods said that the loan will help the company achieve its goals.
"This has been a very difficult time for the forest industry specifically, and the economy generally," said Woods. "Our company and our staff have a reputation for excellence. With the help of the provincial government, we can continue on the road to becoming a national leader, and bring the benefits of our growing success back home to the people of northern New Brunswick."
"Making strategic investments in local businesses is important for job maintenance and company growth," said Boudreau. "Our government provides the means for productivity and profitability in a challenging economic environment. Continuing to make strategic investments and cultivating partnerships such as this one today will help us achieve our goal of self-sufficiency by 2026."
Chaleur Sawmills has been in operation since 1994, producing softwood stud lumber for the construction industry, along with rough lumber used to manufacture fencing, pallets, bed frames and packaging. The mill also sells chips, shavings and biomass to local enterprises, with wood residue products making up about 25 per cent of the mill's revenues.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Ashley Bursey, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-453-2694; Duane Woods, general manager, Chaleur Sawmills, 506-522-2246.