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Province announces $19M forest biomass program

Applications for funding through the Forest Biomass Program will open early this summer
Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith announced the new Forest Biomass Program while in Atikokan on Friday. (File photo)

ATIKOKAN — The province is launching a new multi-million dollar program to develop new uses for underutilized wood and mill byproducts.

Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith was in Atikokan on Friday, where he announced the creation of a $19.6-million Forest Biomass Program.

“This is good news for Ontario’s forestry industry, workers, communities and the environment,” Smith said in a statement. “Our government’s Forest Biomass Program will help create jobs, build local prosperity and enhance the sustainable practices essential to forest product operations.”

The province said the program was created based on feedback from the public, along with Indigenous communities and industry, who all indicated the need for targeted support to develop the forest bio-economy.

The goals of the program are to increase wood harvest from Crown forests, increase job creation and regional economic growth, while finding new uses for wood.

The program will have four streams — Indigenous bio-economy partnerships, exploring biomass pathways, innovative bioproduct manufacturing, and modernization.

Applications for the program will be opened early this summer.

“The Forest Biomass Program will result in a stronger forestry sector,” Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Kevin Holland said in a statement. “The forestry industry is a major driver of the economy in Northwestern Ontario and plays a critical role in building Ontario. I am confident this program will enhance existing use of resources, promote research, and increase Indigenous economic prosperity across the region.”


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