Forestry in Growth Alberta

The western portion of the GROWTH Alberta region has an active forestry industry centred around Whitecourt and Woodlands County. The key players are innovative and their collaborative business model has them working together to manage the fibre basket. Key players include:

  • Alberta Newsprint Company (ANC)
  • Blue Ridge Lumber
  • Millar Western Forest Products
  • Timeau Forest Products

These players collaborate on items like worker safety and forestry careers.

Industry Reliance by Employment Income

GROWTH Alberta Forestry Assets

  • Produces dimensional lumber and multi-density fibre (MDF).
  • Employs about 200+.
  • Owned by West Fraser.
  • Located at Blue Ridge.
  • Lumber Operations: Sawmill manufactures approximately 330 million SPF board feet annually.
  • Pulp Operations: Produces bleached chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp (BCTMP).
  • Employs an advanced biological effluent treatment system to clean process water to an exceptionally high standard before discharging it into the Athabasca River.
  • Certified to the ISO 9000 standard for quality management, the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management.
  • Certified under FORESTCARE and is recognized as a Leader under the Alberta government’s EnviroVista program.
  • Began operation in 2016 for a new bioenergy plant which convert organics in pulp mill effluent to a biogas. The biogas is conditioned and used to fuel reciprocating engines, to generate 5.2 MW of electricity for use in the pulp operations.
  • Woodlands Operations: Woodlands team of 35 staff is responsible for supplying Whitecourt and Fox Creek mills – applying sustainable forest management practices. Includes planning, consultation, road building, harvest, fire and insect response, reclamation and forest renewal activities.
  • Newsprint and paper manufacturing facility.
  • Alberta first and only paper mill.
  • Employs over 200 employees.
  • Has a forest management area which employs about 200 contracted staff.
  • Currently looking to leverage their site offerings: excess steam and water treatment capacity, excess water intake capacity, on-site power plant, multipurpose trans-loading facility.
  • Softwood sawmill division of Spruceland Millworks Inc.
  • Produces up to 60 million board feet of dedicated raw materials for further processing at Spruceland Millworks Inc. Acheson plant.
  • Located near Fort Assiniboine
  • 28 Employees.

Major Challenges

A major challenge currently facing the Alberta forestry industry is the caribou range plan mandated by the federal government under the federal Species At Risk Act. The Province of Alberta needs to manage 65 per cent of critical caribou habitat by October 2017. The Province’s proposed strategy includes permanently protecting an additional 1.8 million hectares of caribou range. Municipalities in northwestern Alberta are concerned these plans to protect caribou ranges could hurt local industry.


Did you know?

  • The Alberta forest industry GDP grew by 2.5% to $2.6 billion in 2017.
  • The players collaborate on items like worker safety and forestry careers. For example, they hold a “Forestry Industry Day” where the focus in on careers in the forestry industry rather than specific companies.
  • Alberta Newsprint Company has the capacity to produce more than 12,000 square metres of newsprint per minute.
  • Millar Western built the world’s first zero-effluent market pulp mill, and developed aspen bleached chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp (BCTMP) grades that are now widely used by the international paper industry

Image Millar Western Forest Products

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