TORONTO, ON - Wood pellet producer Rentech Inc. will receive $4 million in aid from the Ontario government to convert two idle composite panel plants into pellet mills. At least 60 jobs will be created.

Funding will come from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). Located in Wawa and Atikokan in northern Ontario, the mills will "turn Crown-owned wood materials that previously would not have been used or sold, into wood pellets to be used to produce electricity in local and international power production facilities," said the statement by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

"Rentech’s proposals for these two plants show innovation, business savvy and responsible management of resources. Our government is proud to support Ontario wood products and invest in these sustainable projects that will create jobs in Northern Ontario,” said Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the NOHFC.

The Wawa facility already has secured a sales contract with a UK-based company for their production. The Atikokan facility will sell to Ontario Power Generation, which has phased out coal and is using sustainable resources like wood pellets to produce electricity.

“We are thankful for the ongoing support from the Ontario government and in particular, Hon. Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and Hon. Bill Mauro, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry," said Stephen Roberts,  managing director for Rentech Canada.

"The partnership and support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation played an important role in constructing the Atikokan and Wawa pellet facilities. We look forward to continued success in Northern Ontario, and are proud of our contribution of new jobs and local economic development.”

This follows Rentech's news last month of the acquisition of Allegheny Pellet Corp. by Rentech subsidiary New England Wood Pellet (NEWP). The acquisition expanded NEWP’s market position as the largest producer of wood pellets for the U.S. heating market.

Rentech acquired New England Wood Pellet (NEWP) last year for $45.1 million. At the time, the company stated its intent to expand its domestic market share also develop wood pellet facilities in East Canada to supply pellets to utilities.

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