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Twin Rivers Paper gets more wood from Crown land in New Brunswick

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EDMUNDSTON, N.B. - The New Brunswick government is giving Twin Rivers Paper Co. access to an additional 200,000 cubic metres of wood from Crown lands.

The additional wood is part of a 10-year forestry plan announced in March that will allow forestry companies to harvest an additional 660,000 cubic metres of softwood a year — a hike of 20 per cent.

As a result of the additional wood, Twin Rivers Paper has added a third shift at its mill in Plaster Rock, a move the company says will create more than 40 jobs.

The company says it plans to spend $2.5 million for a new kiln at the Plaster Rock mill and $8 million to upgrade its Edmundston pulp mill.

A spokeswoman for the province's Natural Resources Department says the total Crown wood now available to Twin Rivers Paper each year is about 500,000 cubic metres.

Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud says the larger allotment will protect the 328 jobs at the Edmundston mill.

Robichaud said the province still has Crown lumber agreements to announce with the Chaleur Saw Mill and the First Nations.

"It's a matter of days or weeks before we announce the two other agreements and it will complete all the other agreements with the private companies regarding our forestry strategy," he said.

Robichaud said detailed maps, showing where the extra wood will be cut, can be released once all the agreements are signed.

Twin Rivers Paper has also committed to make payments of about $3 million annually for the next 15 years into a shared-risk pension plan.

The change will increase pensions for both hourly and salary workers, as well as for retirees of the former Fraser Papers mill, which declared bankruptcy in 2009 but was taken over by Twin Rivers Paper.

The New Brunswick legislature will hold a special one-day sitting Tuesday to approve the pension change.

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