MONTREAL - Resolute Forest Products will construct a new sawmill in Northwest Ontario. The wood prdoucts firm said Thursday it expects to employ 90 people at the Atikokan, ON-based facility, with additional positions available for ancillary personnel.

According to the Jan. 31 announcement, construction will begin in the spring and is expected to  finish in early 2014. When completed, the random length sawmill will have an annual capacity of 150 million board feet. Capital cost for the project is estimated at C$50 million, the company said.

"We believe in our solid wood business and we're taking action to grow and improve it. The new random length sawmill will complement our existing lumber product mix in Ontario and will allow Resolute to improve its product offering to customers in central Canada and key markets in the United States," Resolute Forest Products President and CEO Richard Garneau said in a statement. "We are particularly excited about the active involvement of First Nations in the project and the opportunity for shared economic benefit that this represents."

When finished, Resolute Forest Products will have three sawmills in Northwestern Ontario, with a combined production capacity of approximately 600 million board feet. Overall, the company says it owns or operates 21 pulp and paper mills and 21 wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea. Resolute said it has third-party certified 100 percent of its managed woodlands to sustainable forest management standards.

In November 2012, Resolute also announced plans to build an industrial wood pellet plant converting wood waste into biofuel for electric generators.  When completed, it will employ 24 poeple at a site adjacent to the wood products firm's Thunder Bay, ON, sawmill.

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